What’s in a name? For Neon Satori, everything. “A big element of our music is combining an epic, spiritual [sensibility] which makes you reflect on life, with a fun, funky dance aspect,” says Nate Stein, who contributes percussion, synths, and backup vocals to the Santa Cruz trio. “That’s the intent of Neon Satori: the fun of neon, but the consciousness of Satori.”
The group’s first single, “The Bells of Esmeralda,” is a perfect example of that delicate balance. Amid the swelling guitars and intricately performed percussive loops which drive the song, there is a repeating refrain: “I found it light and illusive.” Stein cites this phrase when discussing the band’s approach to songwriting. “It gives you a chance to change your perspective about life,” he says. “Maybe you’re in a stressful situation, but if you take yourself out of the self and look at it from the bigger perspective, it’s very light and illusive.” Similarly, on the fan-favorite “Brick Wall,” Neon Satori sings about the challenge of moving on after experiencing misfortune. The ability to inspire listeners through song is an important element of making music for Stein and his bandmates—Andrew Gibson (guitar/vocals) and Ravi Lamb (guitar)—who are set to perform at The Crepe Place on Friday. “Andrew wrote almost all the lyrics to ‘Brick Wall;’ the only lyrics I wrote are ‘Go outside,’” Stein says. “That’s a reminder to myself to not only literally go outside, but also step outside the box. [It’s] a reminder to me that if I’m in a situation where I only have a small viewpoint, then I’ll hear those words in my head and say, ‘Oh yeah! All I’ve got to do is step outside myself.’”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994. For more info and to hear the band’s music, visit neonsatori.com or facebook.com/neonsatori.