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Neon Trees
Neon Trees, from left, Branden Campbell, Tyler Glenn, Elaine Bradley and Chris Allen will play at RIBCO on Tuesday.

Remember how there was always that one person in school whose parents got a better job offer somewhere else and, before you knew it, your fellow 10-year-old classmate was a world away, in a far-off place, never to be heard from again?

That might feel like the case for northwest Davenport classmates of Branden Campbell, a former Quad-City resident and current bassist for Neon Trees - an alternative rock band that is quickly climbing the Billboard charts - but they're soon going to be hearing a lot about him.

"Animal," the first track released from "Habits," the band's major label debut album, has spent 38 weeks on Billboard's Alternative Songs Chart, peaking with the No. 1 position this fall and currently No. 3 on Billboard's Rock Songs Chart.

With such sudden success, it might seem that egos would inflate.

But according to Campbell, who is joined by vocalist Tyler Glenn, guitarist Chris Allen and drummer Elaine Bradley, that's not the case.

"There's been nothing to get big-headed over, in my opinion," he wrote in an e-mail earlier this week from a European tour. "It's our first single off our first album. We're just getting started.

"It's great to have people enjoy the music. It's kind of validating for all the time and sacrifice it takes to make a record," wrote Campbell, who moved with his family to Las Vegas during his grade-school years.

The band formed in Utah in 2005 and released its first album a year later. Ronnie Vannucci Jr., the drummer for The Killers, was already in a ska band called Attaboy Skip with Campbell when he heard Neon Trees perform in ‘08 and got the act signed to Mercury Records.

"We expected things to take longer," wrote Campbell, who turns 36 next month. "We know this is special to have things happen fast. However, we want our music to take time to grow roots (no pun intended) and turn this into a career. We hope to make music for a long time."

The band, which has been making the rounds recently and promoting its electro-pop rock sound on various TV shows, including, "Live! With Regis and Kelly" and "Lopez Tonight," will perform an all-ages show Tuesday night at the Rock Island Brewing Company.

For RIBCO owner Terry Tilka, the performance will be special since Campbell is his nephew.

Tilka said Campbell and Neon Trees were hard to book at RIBCO, even for the bass player's uncle, who had been pursuing them for more than a year.

"When Neon Trees took off and they started routing, the agents were like, ‘Oh no, you play major markets. You're doing Chicago, you're doing New York, you're doing Detroit,'" Tilka said.

"I think Branden finally told them why he wanted to play RIBCO," he continued. "One was family members. Two, he's from the Quad-Cities originally and then three, he just wanted to play here."

Numerous relatives will be coming from around the area to see their nephew, cousin and grandson play, Tilka said, adding that he's anticipating the show as much as Campbell.

"I think there's a little bit of that roots thing, and everything else," Tilka added. "I think it's sort of an ‘I get to go back home' thing and rock out."

 

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