Concert Review: Neon Trees at the W Hotel Poolside July 18

Symmetry Live, with a Special Performance from Neon Trees
The W Hotel Poolside, Miami Beach
Sunday, July 18, 2010

Better Than: Singing in the rain -- literally.

The Review:

Crowds let loose at the W Hotel poolside on Sunday. Fueled by the free-flowing Grey Goose open bar, the eclectic bunch of beautiful people, trendsetters, swim-week attendees, and hipsters got down along the pool's sidelines. But this invite-only soirée was less pool party, more dressed-to-kill mingling sesh, and that was obvious to all of us -- except the band scheduled to play, Neon Trees.

The group took the stage a little after 11 p.m., with lead singer Tyler Glenn decked out in a black sequined top, a half-mesh blazer, and what looked like leather tights -- which he referred to as his "second skin." The mohawked vocalist instantly took to the clear runway built over the pool, took off his studded boots, and actually laid down in a fit of passion, kicking his legs mid-air as he belted out with a force and energy that seemed to be the only way he knew how. 

"This is awkward to play for a body of water," he conceded soon after, but he made it work, moving so close to the audience on either side that at one point I thought he was going to sweat on me. 

At first it seemed like only a handful of show-goers actually knew who Neon Trees were, as the audience just stood there, watching. But once they started playing their hit "Animal" mid-set, the entire crowd finally started dancing. I was lucky enough to be standing next to what appeared to be the band's biggest fans, as they lip-synced every lyric and mimicked Glenn almost exactly. They frantically pulled out their camera phones, trying to snap a shot of the next crazy pose Glenn might make. 

At one point, he turned the crowd into a bit of a pep rally, going from side to side and asking us to take out our claws and "roar like pumas." We weren't really sure why, but we followed suit. He then splashed his legs in the pool, musing that he was "turning this pool into a beatnik club." It's rare to see a lead vocalist with that level of energy.

The real kicker, though, happened as the band started playing its last song. Suddenly, the sky started pouring rain, and half of the audience ran for cover, while the hardcore half stayed put. Though the band joked of "getting electrocuted," they continued playing, and they all jumped in the pool once the song was done. Talk about making a splash. 

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm a sucker for bands that have stage presence and high energy.

By the Way: In case there wasn't enough fashion infusion this week, the global music director for W Hotels Worldwide who hosted the event, Michaelangelo L'Acqua, has produced soundtracks for more than 150 fashion shows, including heavy-hitters like Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci, and Yves St. Laurent. Talk about a nice nod to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim.

Random Detail: To the woman whose sky-high stilettos were encased in clear Lucite and lit up like old school L.A. Gears: Cool shoes!  

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