‘Everybody Talks’ about Neon Trees

Neon Trees and opening artist Slow Hands performed for excited Tennessee Tech University students Tuesday night.

The Student Government Association hosted another successful S.O.L.O. concert headlined by Neon Trees. On Sept. 23, students and members of the community filled the Hooper Eblen Center to watch Neon Trees and Slow Hands perform for the crowd.

Tyler Glenn, lead singer of Neon Trees, took the stage with a purple Tech foam finger in hand, and filled the arena with his upbeat and energetic stage presence. Glenn and the band displayed their fun-loving personalities in their performance throughout the night.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Glenn. “But, at the same time, we’re not a joke band.”

Neon Trees’ energy was reflected in the reaction from the students. Chyna Patterson, mathematics major, could feel the energy from the band.

“I was right in the front, so I was feeding off their energy,” said Patterson. “They all performed really well. They interacted well with the audience and made it a lot of fun.”

The band performed crowd favorites and their most popular hits, such as “Animal,” “Everybody Talks” and their newest single, “Sleeping With A Friend” for the crowd. They performed other songs including “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)” and “Lessons in Love.”

Toward the end of the concert, Glenn crowd-surfed over the 400 students that had floor access.

Glenn continued to connect with the audience on a personal level by sharing his thoughts on being unique, living life as a homosexual and his life experiences that led to his songwriting. During the concert, he explained challenges he faced through high school and finding himself through music.

Their newest album, “Pop Psychology,” displays Glenn’s personal metamorphosis.

 “This was the most thought out one (album),” Glenn said. “I think the record is supposed to be a lot darker, but then when it came time to actually make it, I was the happiest I’d been in a long time.”

Before producing the album, Glenn struggled with his anxiety and fears, which led to meeting his therapist. While writing the songs on “Pop Psychology,” Glenn was learning how to deal with these issues.

“I wanted the record to sound like a celebration more than a depressing thing,” said Glenn. “I think a lot of the tones and themes on the record are still similar. There is a lot about identity, finding love, moderation, things like that, but it’s a lot more energetic than maybe we intended.”

“Pop Psychology” was their most successful album since forming in 2005. It peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart and Alternative Albums chart.

Recently, the band’s bassist, Branden Campbell, underwent open-heart surgery for a valve replacement according to Neon Trees originally wanted to cancel the tour. However, Campbell wouldn’t allow it. On Tuesday night, Campbell was performing on the stage in the Hooper Eblen Center. Some of the tour’s dates have been postponed due to the recent band member’s surgery.

Glenn said the band was happy to give him some time to recover and take care of his health issues, but the band is really “bummed” it happened.

To get the crowd excited for Neon Trees, Slow Hands took the stage and performed a 30-minute set preceding the headlining act. Known to his friends and family as Ryan Cavanagh, he performed varying disc jockey skills continuously throughout the performance.

“I’m not used to people looking at you. I’m used to people with hands in the air, dancing and strong kick drums,” said Cavanagh. “If you watch me cry and sweat, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.”

Despite the technical malfunction at the beginning of the set, Cavanaugh got the crowd excited for Neon Trees’ performance after he was finished.

The SGA constitution article states the S.O.L.O. fund is designed to, “enrich and advance the quality of a complete college experience at Tennessee Tech University.” Every semester, SGA chooses a list of bands for the students to vote on as a collective body. Once the vote is complete, the decision will determine the performance.

“I’m really impressed by the performance,” said Patterson. “I’m glad I went.”


More photos from the performance can be viewed on our Facebook page.