It's not every day an unsigned band gets a personal call to open for The Killers on tour--but Neon Trees had that day. The stylishly coiffed pop-rock band started in 2005 with founding members Tyler Glenn (no, he's not Puck from Glee) on vocals and keyboard and Chris Allen on guitar. The band's current lineup was rounded out in 2007 with the addition of bassist Brandon Campbell and drummer Elaine Bradley. They quickly grew to local hero status, but when the locale is Provo, Utah, there's a small chance of ever being called to superstar arms.
But so came the unlikely call: Campbell used to play in the ska band Attaboy Skip with The Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. Not only did Vannucci recruit Neon Trees for their tour, but he also helped them sign to Mercury Records soon after. Since then, Neon Tree's single 'Animal' off their first major full-length release Habits, has climbed to #15 of the Billboard Hot 100 and to #1 on the Alternative Rock Chart.
Neon Trees' contagious brand of pop-rock with catchy takes on new wave makes for a radio-friendly sound, but with a modern punk vibe that gives them just enough of what could be called 'edge cred'. The music video for their second single '1983' sets the band during a carnival in, well, 1983, complete with a Corey Feldman Lost Boys cameo. You'd never guess they were trying to dress 80s, since they probably pulled the leather jackets, punk tees and tight jeans from their own closets. But sartorial pleasantries aside, Neon Trees has the raw talent to surpass any claims of preferential treatment on The Killers' part.
The band recently came by Yahoo! to play a mini acoustic set for the staff. What's fascinating about intimate live performances are how songs are transformed: loud rock tunes become more soulful, lyrics become more poignant. If you close your eyes during their performaces of 'Animal' and 'Your Surrender', you could swear you were listening to a Motown act with their snap/clap-along beats and Glenn's The Temptations-worthy crooning-- like a reverse That Thing You Do.