Playing Detroit -- and especially the Majestic Theatre -- is more than just another gig for Neon Trees bassist Branden [cq] Campbell. "It's almost a bit of a homecoming," he says.
Campbell, 30, was a Mormon missionary assigned to the city a decade ago. He lived near Grand Boulevard and Gratiot and worked with the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and in the Detroit Public Schools, "just helping a lot of local people there meet their needs." And he loved it.
"I was down there in the Cass Corridor, hanging out on the streets and, at first, wondering 'How safe is this?' " Campbell recalls. "But I never felt unsafe. After the first couple weeks there I realized that people were respectful of what we were doing.
"I logged a lot of miles there in my bicycle, even in the snow -- lots of wiping out, flying over the handlebars and working all night. It was an awesome time; I made a lot of friends, and a lot of them come out to the shows. It's great to be able to keep in touch and see everyone there."
The Utah-based Neon Trees is on the road promoting its sophomore album, "Picture Show," which debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in April. And Campbell says part of the kick of returning to Detroit to play is remembering his own experiences with music while he was here.
"I used to drive my bike past the (Fillmore Detroit) when it was still called the State Theatre and see names on the marquee and think, 'Man...,' " he recalls. "You'd see Rage Against the Machine or Tool back when they were still playing those size places, and it was very cool.
"So be able to come back and be in a band at any of these places I used to see every day...I'm definitely thrilled to always get to play in Detroit."
Neon Trees, Walk The Moon and Twenty One Pilots perform Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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