Friday, May 8, 2015

This Little Underground: Neutral Milk Hotel's final victory lap (The Beacham)

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Neutral Milk Hotel

The blockbuster this week, of course, was the big Neutral Milk Hotel show (May 5, The Beacham).

If you weren’t fortunate enough to lock a ticket to the long sold-out event, you’re still screwed because we don’t have any photos to show you due to a rare artist-requested photography ban. Too bad because this could’ve been where I showed you Jeff Mangum Jesus-walking on the hands of the crowd…

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Or Julian Koster rocking a singing saw solo to a laser light show…

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Or pyro shooting from the horn section…

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But as they say, pics or it didn’t happen, right? Well, what did happen was really more of a historical event than a concert. Despite a lean oevre, Neutral Milk Hotel has cemented its place as one of the best, most defining acts of the legendary Elephant 6 collective, a status that’s gained even more height after the fact. Now add the weight of this touring swan dive they’re currently on.

When band brain Jeff Mangum played to a capacity crowd in this same big venue in 2013, it was in the full swing of a gradual return to the stage that would culminate in the announcement of a full Neutral Milk Hotel reunion three months later. Now it’s the farewell to that unlikely dream since this is being billed by the band as their final tour, a last hurrah that concludes this summer.

Fever (doubled up by reunion hype and last-chance urgency) and enchantment (the inevitable effect of their strikingly enigmatic psych-pop) defined this show. It didn’t always sound great, with some of the more boisterous songs suffering from sonic cloudiness. But it felt great. It was a moment in history, one so self-cognizant that a funny flurry of crowd surfing broke out during a solo acoustic song in the final stretch of the show. And so they rode out of this town to deafening applause and into the otherworldly ether from which sprung...

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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