Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tyler Glenn at the Mercury Lounge

In 2004, Tyler Glenn's father suggested he play music the son of one of Glenn's father's friends. In 2005, the two musicians moved from California to Provo, Utah, where in 2007they founded a pop rock quartet, Neon Trees. The band succeeded with three hit albums. In 2014, Glenn came out as gay to Rolling Stone, discussing his experience as a closet gay within the Mormon religion. On April 28, 2016, Glenn released his debut single as a solo artist, the electro pop single "Trash." The video shows Glenn drinking alcohol from a bottle and spitting on an altered image of Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormons). Glenn's debut solo album, Excommunication, will be released on October 21, 2016.

At the Mercury Lounge tonight, Glenn was dark-haired and bearded, unlike his platinum-blond and clean-shaven persona in Neon Trees. His demeanor was unlike the bubbly singer of the pop band. He was very serious and spoke of his seven years with Neon Trees as a past event, suggesting he may no longer be a member in that band. He also stated that he recently discovered his religion was false, and that his motive for this album was not sales but instead a resource of comfort for LGBTQ youth. Onstage alone, pacing before a tall, illuminated X and singing to prerecorded tracks, Glenn showcased a scant 35 minutes of new material, with no further reference to Neon Trees. The performance initially was deep in electro-dance grooves, but when he emphasized his lyrics, they seemed to circle around a period where he experienced a crisis of faith, the emptiness of doubt and the darkness of a one-man rebellion. The lyrics, born in pain, were the most provocative and personal he has ever written, even as they clearly denounced everything he ever believed in for 32 years. Although these songs may be his road to healing, the lyrics invited listeners to enter into a deep wound, and the performance at times felt more unnerving than soothing. May Glenn triumph over this turbulent chapter in his life.

Visit Tyler Glenn at www.tylerglennmusic.com.