NEON TREES, Salt Lake Community College, Tuesday
Provo alt-rock quartet Neon Trees has steadily built a reputation as an exhilarating live act, and the band delivered Tuesday at Salt Lake Community College.
Supporting the Rock the Vote campaign, which encourages political activity among young adults, Neon Trees gave a flashy, energetic performance showcasing the high-octane style that has the group in steady rotation on radio stations across the country.
Frontman Tyler Glenn was especially entertaining. From the moment he walked on stage sporting his trademark Mohawk and appropriately loud rock star attire, his big voice and even bigger personality made him a spectacle of sight and sound.
"I wanna have the best Tuesday night of our lives!" he declared before launching into show opener "Love and Affection" from the group's debut album, "Habits." He then engaged in a combination of impassioned singing, on-stage antics and goofy banter that drew both laughter and thunderous applause from the mostly youthful audience.
Drummer Elaine Bradley, guitarist Chris Allen and bassist Branden Campbell proved more than capable of keeping up with Glenn's frenetic showmanship, following him through each detour without missing a beat. The group obviously enjoyed performing together, and its collective energy was infectious.
The band was sharp for the entire set, but there were some definite highlights along the way.
Popular single "Animal" was particularly excellent live, inciting a crowd-wide sing-a-long while Glenn worked himself into a frenzy on stage. The encore number "Your Surrender" was also stunning, filling every corner of the sizable venue with the singer's most impressive vocal performance.
It wasn't until midway through the set that the band took a short break to acknowledge its Utah origins, much to the delight of the crowd.
"We're from a little town called Provo," Glenn said. "Ever heard of it?" He then went on to lightheartedly emphasize the benefits the city offers, such as cheap rent and clean living.
Each of the four Neon Trees are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though their alternative look and Glenn's ostentatious rock 'n' roll stage persona are things you probably wouldn't associate with the more conservative LDS culture.
Though he didn't reveal any specific religious convictions, Glenn did preach a message of hope, unity and acceptance throughout the show. When introducing the song "Sins of My Youth," he dedicated it to all those who were "different" or "didn't fit," a thought which was enthusiastically received by the young crowd.
Neon Trees managed to pack enough emotion and energy into 10 songs that its relatively short concert still felt satisfying. Salt Lake's own The Devil Whale also provided a solid set, opening to an audience that was appreciative if not entirely thrilled by its grittier retro-rock style.