Live Review: Neon Indian + Snakadaktal + Miami Horror DJs – Prince Bandroom (24.02.12)

It was a stifling night in Melbourne, and the revellers were out in force, making quick work of the bar service in an attempt to stave off the unrelenting heat. While the general dick-headed behaviour of the heavily intoxicated punters was unpleasant, unfortunately, the music was too. This was due largely to the atrocious sound in the venue, that saw the night full of feedback, distortion, washed out vocals, and, in general, an incredibly painful, off-balance mix.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Prince when the sound has been quite this bad. Whoever was responsible for manning the sound desk should be refunding the paying punters their ticket money, as it didn’t matter how hard Alan Palomo and co. tried to engage their fans, no band can build an atmosphere when the crowd is being deafened by the high pitched squeal of feedback every five minutes, and when half the songs are unrecognisable due to the poor quality of the audio. The sound was off for all three acts, and in light of this pertinent fact, a short commentary on their efforts can be read below.

Triple J Unearthed High darlings Snakadaktal seemed to have just as many fans as the headliners and, to their credit, their ability to write quality, catchy, alt-pop tunes is well advanced. However, I found their live presence to be very middle of the road. They were pleasant, but unremarkable. The twee pop boy-girl harmonies were cutesy and fun, but there was no feeling or showmanship involved in the performance; it was a case of the band bouncing around onstage, playing their popular singles, with little variation to their studio work. The bare bones of their music is good – perhaps when they’ve gotten a few more gigs under their belts, their live show will become more noteworthy than that.

The Miami Horror DJs filled the interval between bands with a bland display of distorted bass and ‘phat’ beats that carried on for far too long, and after 30 odd minutes had begun to feel like water torture. A gigantic sigh of relief was breathed when they finally wrapped up and the stage lights dimmed, as the headliners walked on stage.

The brilliance of Neon Indian‘s music relies heavily on Alan Palomo’s masterful production skills, and it was nice to see how the band attempted to reinterpret the sounds in a live setting. The aforementioned technical aspects marred their best efforts to be engaging, with Palomo’s vocals barely audible for the majority of the set. He was a confident performer, and kudos to the band for soldiering on in spite of the obvious issues. Neon Indian received a huge audience response for their renditions of “Polish Girl” and “Deadbeat Summer”, but sadly, the crowd had noticeably thinned by the time they encored with “The Blindside Kiss”.

All in all, this gig is up there as being one of the worst I have attended so far in 2012. I’d love to see Neon Indian again in a different venue, here’s hoping next time he comes to town his set won’t be plagued by disastrous sound problems as it was on Friday night.