Brooklyn tropical pop band Friends kicked off the Neon Indian show at the Echoplex in LA on Tuesday night, and they had a seriously fun time on stage, members constantly laughing and giving each other side glances. It was infectious. When half of the audience was not dancing enough, lead singer, Samantha Urbani, encouraged people to pump their arms with clawed hands by saying, “Dance like you’re throwing some shit at me!” Afterwards she said, “Oh man! I have shit pouring out of every hole in my face.” Booties shook from that point forward.
French dance-rock specialists Housse De Racket, the duo of Victor Le Masne and Pierre Leroux, were up next. The pair rocked veraciously, while trying to explain its excitement at playing in LA for the first time between sets through heavy French accents. At one point Pierre said, “We are trying very hard to pronounce Los Angeles correctly,” before going on to say “Los Angeles” in a perfect valley girl voice. Pierre then taught the audience how to pronounce “Housse.” The band definitely impressed. One audience member even said, “I just realized what they are: A good MGMT. And that’s mean, because I love MGMT.”
When Neon Indian frontman Alan Palomo thanked Friends for touring with his band he said that the two bands had been “Astral Traveling” together, which seemed appropriate given the astral feel of the band’s set, which was a kaleidoscope of sorts. There were trippy projections, enough laser lights to power ten cat filled SNL sketches, and a set piece that could be a space metronome or Legends Of The Hidden Temple knock-off depending on how you look at it. The audience let the visuals wash over them, sweating, dancing, and screaming whenever the band actually took a breather between songs.