Music Reviews — 07 October 2016
Tyler Glenn in His Own Skin at Mercury Lounge

Tyler Glenn

A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
October 4th, 2016

Concert Review: Tyler Glenn at Mercury Lounge

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Fans expecting a colorful pop performance at the Mercury Lounge on Tuesday evening may have been a bit surprised by the tone and tenor of Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn. Performing in support of his solo debut “Excommunication” (out October 21st), the evening’s early show revealed a far more poignant version of the frontman, verbally introspective and coming to grips with a very real personal awakening right in front of the audience’s eyes. Despite the small New York City show involving a far more serious message than songs with the pomp and circumstance like “Everybody Talks” and “Sleeping With a Friend” might imply, cuts from the singer’s new album were catchy and quite good, despite each song’s deeper meaning.

(Click Here to Listen to our July 2015 interview with Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn)

Taking the stage in front of a colorfully illuminated ‘X,’ Glenn performed the entirety of his 35 minute set with only backing tracks to help him- the diminutive stage likely would not afford a full band sufficient space. The now bearded and short dark haired singer eschewed the loud suit jacket in favor of a toned down style on stage- a long button down would drape him momentarily before revealing a sleeveless shirt bearing an X to match both his new album cover and the stage backdrop. The mostly synth-electronic style set offered up songs from the opening banger “GDMML GRLS” and singles “Trash” and “Shameless,” which fans to their credit seemed to have rehearsed. But it was the banter between songs that was far more telling.

Defiantly but well intentioned, Glenn’s brief diatribe both denounced his former band – ‘I was in a band called Neon Trees for seven years, and fuck that shit’ – and also embraced his new public persona- “I made this new record. I don’t care if you buy it. I made this record for LGBTQ, marginalized by religion.” Though candidly a bit uncomfortable, it was perhaps therapeutic for Glenn to rant in this fashion. As a gay man coming to grips with the contradictions of a religion that he believed for more than three decades- and one in the spotlight no less- the intimacy with his loyal fanbase perhaps affords him the safety to be so honest. And fortunately, as a singer, Glenn’s vocals continue to sound extraordinary.

Other tracks from the upcoming album like “Gods + Monsters” and “Gates” were equally as physically moving- evidenced by the swarm of people inside the small standing room space bobbing their heads approvingly. But show closer “Devil,” which also concludes the album, showcase Glenn’s finest moments in putting metaphorical emotion to paper. In the song, Glenn pleads ‘Don’t pray for me / I found myself when I lost my faith.’ And though he’ll need some time to work out the kinks in his solo act to cater to larger audiences with such a strong and serious message, it appears upon first glance, that his lyrics might just be right on the money.

- Dave Gendelson

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