On Wednesday, March 7th, New York’s Museum of Modern Art hosted its annual fundraiser concert coinciding with the opening of the Armory Show – one of the city’s biggest events for collectors and art aficionados alike, which has grown tremendously since it’s inception in 1999 and has expanded to venues all throughout New York and its boroughs. This opening celebration at MoMA has become a pivotal fundraiser for the museum and it’s related ventures and offers the attendees the chance to kick back to a night of music and art in one of the most famed gallery spaces in the world.
For the 4th incarnation of this event, Neon Indian was selected as the headlining band (previous performers include Gang Gang Dance, The Walkmen, and Kate Nash) and was accompanied by DJ’s both before and after, as well as surrounding visuals and lighting. Naturally, there was plenty of art to be found in the museum as well. A truly immersive ambiance was created with projections, speakers, and art always surrounding you. The event was very well laid out, taking place on the first two floors of the building and the stage in front of the sculpture garden. A few of the galleries remained open on the second floor allowing guests to meander throughout the night’s festivities.
Neon Indian’s Polish Girl
Shortly after 10 pm, Neon Indian transitioned on to stage from the DJs without as much as an announcement, and quickly the crowd began to swell on the first floor and along the adjacent stairs and balcony. This had a much different feel than other concerts as a major focus of this event is the surroundings and art itself. Rather than overpowering the space, Neon Indians brand of chilled synthy tunes delicately mixed with it’s surroundings. Front man Alan Palamo had little to say as the music wafted throughout the surrounding, blending in with the projections that were on practically every surface available; crowd and band included.
Neon Indian was a great fit to kick-off the Armory Show. The two albums that comprise the band’s body of work to date, Psychic Chasms and Era Extrana, conjure up a dreamy and psychadelic ambiance and are able to stir emotions. Many of the songs are layered and intricate and can demand more attention from the listener; however still contain a subtlety that allows many of these songs to excel as background noise as well.
The set lasted for around an hour and a half and had a very seamless feel to it. While there was constantly a bit of a crowd towards the stage, movement throughout the rest of the space was quite easy and allowed you take in the performance and surroundings from all angles. It was a treat to hear some of the more popular songs such as “Polish Girl” and “Deadbeat Summer” in succession towards the latter portion of the set when movement towards the stage was a bit easier.
As the set concluded Palomo dedicated the performance “to MoMA and everything that hangs in here, or is displayed or that’s in here, including all of you.” A fitting way to wrap up the evening’s festivities.
By Jesse Zryb