Native Omahan Neal Duffy will return home when Neon Trees opens the Maroon 5 concert on Sunday. Duffy is a sound engineer for the pop-rock group.
The Utah-based band behind songs such as “Everybody Talks” and “Animal” has employed Duffy, 31, since he joined them at the South by Southwest music festival a few years ago. It's an exciting gig, but it keeps him busy.
“I spend more time with them than I do my family,” he said, adding that the band is like family. “And when a band finds their sound engineer, they get really comfortable with them.”
Duffy was with the band on its recent tour of Europe, where it played sold-out shows to up to 500 people.
“The European tour was great, aside from myself and the other crew members being stuck in Shannon, Ireland, for a couple days,” Duffy said. “All the shows were ... packed to the roof with crazed Neon Trees fans. It was kinda fun to go back to smaller rooms with a more intimate vibe. The energy was amazing.”
Neon Trees is now playing with Maroon 5 and almost every show is sold out.
“Huge crowds,” Duffy said. “It's pretty different running sound in a club for 2,000 people versus running sound in a huge arena for 15,000 people, I've definitely learned a large amount in a short time.”
He's happy to be with Neon Trees, and says their work ethic is “top notch.” Duffy is especially proud to work for the band in front of a hometown crowd at the CenturyLink Center.
“I've been waiting so long for an Omaha show,” Duffy said. “I'm so happy it sold out.”
Duffy will DJ some jams — performing as W.E.R.D. — at House of Loom on Saturday for Dance Dance Vinyl Monster, a pre-party for Sunday night's concert. The event will feature Neon Trees' lead singer, Tyler Glenn, as a guest DJ. There will be a $5 cover.