From Murrieta to Beijing

Updated: 2011-08-09 12:22

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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From Murrieta to Beijing

US pop-rock band Neon Trees promises its China debut will be a gig full of energy. Provided to China Daily

The past few years have been surreal for pop-rock band Neon Trees. They've sold more than 1 million digital copies of their hit single, Animal. They've topped the Billboard and iTunes charts - and now they're here.

They became one of the most successful bands in the United States on the back of just one album. They also performed on The Tonight Show, twice during the past nine months, and the top-rated TV show Glee has paid tribute to them.

Though the band didn't anticipate success so soon, they keep moving forward and are now about to play their first concerts in China, two nights in Beijing and Shanghai.

"We kind of found out at the last minute that we were being added to the bill, and so we took the opportunity. I didn't know the rock show was still happening, so we're just happy to be playing," says Tyler Glenn, the lead vocalist and keyboardist.

For the 75-minute shows, the band will perform 15 songs, including the hit song Animal and some new tunes. They promise a gig full of energy.

"It's such an eye-opening opportunity, to see that our music travels to places we didn't think it would get to," says Glenn in an interview with China Daily.

Not so long ago, Glenn and Chris Allen, the band co-founder and guitarist, who are in their late 20s, attended Coachella Festival as fans. But in April they were part of the lineup, with big names like Arcade Fire, Kanye West and Duran Duran.

Their dream started in Murrieta, California, where their fathers worked together. Named after the sign that sits atop the US hamburger chain In and Out, the two started making music as Neon Trees in 2005.

"We had a joke that 'Neon Punk Trees' would be a cool band name. So we kind of went from there, the joke always stayed and eventually led us using it for the band," Glenn recalls.

When they moved to Utah, they met drummer Elaine Bradley and bassist Branden Campbell.

Their big break came when they played on The Killers' national tour. Their fan base grew by opening for the band, 30 Seconds to Mars.

At the same time, Animal got a lot of airplay on radio stations across the United States and attracted the attention of major record labels, in 2008.

Although they have moved to Utah, their roots hold firm in Murrieta, where their parents live, Glenn says.

"I love the Smiths, I love Michael Jackson, Crash. I try to listen to things that inspire me to continue to write the same way," he says.

"I think we have elements of punk and soul music as well, in the music," he adds.

The band makes their own music videos, which is a "cool way to explain the songs in different ways". They also make different versions of videos, many of them inspired by old movies they love, also adding references to things they grew up with.

Now they are writing a new album, which will come out in 2012. As Glenn says, they just want to continue to bring their music to people.



Time: 8 p.m., Aug 9

Place: Starlive, the third floor of Tango Club, south gate of Ditan Park, 79 Heping Xijie, Dongcheng District

Tel: 400-6428-4080


Time: 8 p.m., Aug 10

Place: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Expo Avenue, near Gaoke Xilu, Pudong

Tel: 400-610-3721



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