posted on November 13, 2008 06:26
Neon Neon (live in Tripod, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Side-projects are so hot right now, but these guys are just cool. Neon Neon is a conglomerate of decidedly super-ferrite animals, and they transported the Tripod crowd through an audio-visual interpretation of John DeLorean’s life with the same frenzy in which he lived it. DeLorean’s car was the pièce de résistance in Back To The Future trilogy, and over 20 years on Neon Neon are still making the DeLorean past seem like the future.
The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10
I think the term juxtaposition applies here: Neon Neon is a collaborative project from producer Boom Bip and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys - amongst others - entirely devoted to Detroit-born engineer and entrepreneur John DeLorean and the “dream” car he produced near Belfast primarily for the American market. Hmmm....
Whilst The Good, The Bad and The Queen had their Dickensian, urbane merits, Neon Neon’s Stainless Style album stands out as the most energetic and ambitious side-project this side of John DeLorean’s alleged affair with Raquel Welch. Indeed, NN’s early stomper ‘Raquel’ (on said liasion) is accompanied by a cinematic montage of Welch’s voluptuous career. Phwoar. This, along with in-house DeLorean footage, air drums, moog synths, casio guitars and applause placards ensured Neon Neon’s Tripod performance was a surreal homage to the slick lifestyle of the first playboy engineer. I’ve seen the term ‘retro-futuristic’ attached to Crystal Castles of late, but its far more appropriate when faced with soundtracked Bond-like visuals of DeLorean sports cars speeding around mountainside backdrops. You simply forget all subsequent technological advances and want to be an affluent cigar-smoking businessman in the early Eighties with a copious disposable income.
One man who knows how to live that lifestyle – as least in his typecast 1980s roles – is Michael Douglas, who haunts his namesake song in one of the most memorable moments in NN’s live show: the chorus’ tagline “I see my reflection... in Michael Douglas’ famous sunglasses” in tandem with the image of Warhol–esque portraits of MD on the big screen and Gruff Rhys on his knees playing air drums! As if that wasn’t enough of a headfuck, the sight of Obama-loving wigger Har Mar Superstar rapping whilst standing on his head during ‘Trick for Treat’ left the indie kids in the crowd faced with a completely different type of animal to the Golden Retrievers normally associated with Gruff Rhys’ live repertoire.
Musically, NN did aural justice to their album. ‘I Told Her on Alderaan’ stood out – imagine a synth-laden version ‘Jessie’s Girl’ and you’re not far off. ‘Belfast’ is a beautiful organ-drowned track, and seeing it accompanied with footage from the Troubles sparked the thought that the song will probably be used in a Prime Time report if Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness don’t make friends soon. ‘Steel Your Girl’ was the perfect wind-down song late on in the set, with a backdrop of early-morning, high-speed DeLorean-dashing round an autobahn whilst the chorus sang “goodbye for the final time”.
You could say Neon Neon rocked, but it’d be more accurate to say they oozed. On average, a painted DeLorean sports car is worth up to 20-30% less than an unpainted, stainless equivalent. Likewise messrs Rhys, Boom Bip et al won’t be adding another layer to the Neon Neon project, so those who catch them live before they soon disband really will have seen a stainless and stylish concept at its peak.