by alex aventura
photographs by jessica de santiago
This year’s neon desert fest was a thunderous success. The crowd was large and into it, the downtown location where it’s nestled in provided the perfect backdrop and the lineup felt fresh and exciting.
Neon Desert’s show of strength in its second year demonstrates that its here to stay and local music lovers are down to support it. If Neon keeps going full steam ahead it will start to carve out a nice quirky niche for itself and develop a weird yet refreshing take on music fests.
The border location makes it standout and provides the ability to attract people from Mexico (duh) and the general southwest area which is a pretty huge area. Also, El Paso had been thirsty for this kind of thing for a long time and its just plain fantastic that Neon Desert is marching into its third year triumphantly.
Neon Desert has massive amounts of potential and indie appeal. Since its a baby fest we’ll see it grow and develop and so far its first steps have been really interesting and this second year definitely brought some surprises.
This lineup choice just shows how Neon’s mission is to bring something different and a bit unexpected. One could tell that this year’s lineup was filled with acts that would cause asses to shake and create an overall outside club party vibe. Needless to say, they were successful at doing so.
Yacht’s performance felt out of this world. Their front woman’s sexually ambiguous vibe reminded me of a young David Bowie. Her stage antics were an inch away from being too vulgar and her ballet / jazzercise moves made the group’s sound and image more exciting to watch.Their beat heavy music is what made their performance one hell of a show and I didn’t want it to end.
Ghostland Observatory hijacked the fest with their ridiculous show that includes tons of lasers and generous amounts of awesomeness. They had everybody in the crowd singing along and the clouds of smoke encapsulated the mesmerized crowd.
For many in the crowd it was quite possibly the first time they had ever seen or heard of Ghostland. Thanks to Neon a ton more El Pasoan’s know about this group and they’re likely coming back to grace us with their presence.
Overall, it seems like everybody had fun at this fest and Neon is definitely striving to have something for everybody. They should keep it where its at for now and see how far they can take it stage, sound and light wise.
Other than that, it wouldn’t hurt them to add more hip hop to the bill, a locals only stage and a sprinkling of some cool rock and roll like the stuff that comes from Burger Records.
At some points I truly felt like I was not in El Paso, and that’s a good thing. The folks at Neon are creating a sort of out of body experience with sound and light and they’re introducing new elements that will ultimately transform the tastes and expectations of a performance for an El Pasoan. Until next time kids, keep supporting your local scene.