“An Intimate Night Out with Neon Trees”
wsg Alex Winston, Yes You Are
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
June 24, 7 p.m.
$25 advance, $28 day of show
sectionlive.com, (616) 451-8232
Reaching heights of pop stardom they never expected, the members of Neon Trees go back to their roots with the band’s latest club tour.
“An Intimate Night Out” will feature the new-wave rockers — known for such multi-platinum hits as “Everybody Talks,” “Animal” and “Sleeping with a Friend” — playing club-sized venues and connecting with fans face to face.
“When we did a tour right after releasing Pop Psychology (Neon Trees’ latest album), we had a lot of staging. It might have looked a little more pop,” guitarist Chris Allen said. “I think this taps into the more alternative side of us. It’ll focus a little less on the smoke and mirrors.”
After breaking out of Provo, Utah, where the band first started playing coffee shops in 2005, Neon Trees have graced some of the biggest stages in the business, joining tours with the likes of The Killers, Maroon 5 and Duran Duran.
“I never imagined that we would be as big as we are now,” Allen said. “I didn’t think I’d get with a band that’s as serious about music as they are. It’s pretty amazing I found three other people that have that same drive.”
Lifelong friends, Allen and lead vocalist Tyler Glenn had dreams of playing music while growing up in Southern California. Raised Mormon, they relocated to Provo after Glenn went on a mission trip to Nebraska and Allen enrolled in massage school. There they met bassist Branden Campbell and drummer Elaine Bradley.
Last year, after Glenn bravely confronted their shared church and its beliefs by coming out as gay last year, Allen said he felt a sense of relief for his bandmate and friend.
“I was so glad he was finally able to be open about himself and have the confidence and feel like he had built up enough self-worth to be who he always has been,” said Allen, who is no longer Mormon. “A lot of people have speculated over the years, like, ‘Oh he’s gay.’ And I can only imagine what that must feel like. To deny something so big about who you are, or your personality, or your lifestyle – I just think that would be torture.”
On another personal level, the band’s new single, “Songs I Can’t Listen To,” taps into the relationship between music and heartache.
“Tyler had gotten this idea because (of a break up),” Allen explained about the new track, recorded exclusively for this tour. “This girl had been in his life for years and they had all these songs they’d really connected on and that they’d jam out to. So this was like a tribute to that relationship.”
Looking forward to seeing fans up close and personal, Allen said the experiences Neon Trees have had with fans over the years have meant the most to them.
“Sometimes we’ll get people coming up to us and saying that we saved their life, and we’ve given them new motivation to continue on with whatever their struggle might be,” he said. “I feel like music has definitely done that for us. Music has gotten us out of those things. I think it’s just an inspiring art.”