A hip-hop-meets-indie band, the Neighbourhood doesn’t sound like any other band, and last night at House of Blues, it captivated a sold-out crowd with its unique style.
Frontman Jesse Rutherford commanded attention effortlessly. The wildly energetic crowd was in the palm of his hand for the entirety of the hour-and-a-half set.
Teenage girls crowded the front row of the pit, throwing roses and even, at one point, a bra onstage for Rutherford. The lanky vocalist accepted the latter with a grin, swinging it around for the room to see.
Rutherford ditched his mock mechanic’s jacket after the first two songs, freeing himself up to dance before his adoring fans.
Rutherford’s vocals were unwavering and unbelievably similar to his studio efforts, but he wasn't the only one that impressed. The band’s instrumentals are what make the Neighbourhood all it is. Without the perfectly rounded eerie mix of deep bass riffs, melodic guitar and percussion that complimented rather than overwhelmed the vocals, the music would just be black and white.
“Daddy Issues” was the high point of the show. The entire crowd sang along to the hit from 2015’s Wiped Out
. “Daddy Issues” is one of those songs that stays with you long after the last chord echoes through the room. The brief guitar-based intro had the crowd screaming in delight before Rutherford opened his mouth. It was haunting and catchy and deeply personal all at once.
Rutherford’s rendition of “Prey,” another fan favorite from Wiped Out
, was the most intimate part of the show. His every word felt like a universal warning, and the emotion in the room was evident.
As for the new self-titled album, “Scary Love” translated particularly well to the stage. It was the epitome of everything about the Neighbourhood’s vibe. It was lyrically honest and sonically diverse with perfectly timed pauses in the trippy instrumentals.
The keyboards and percussion in “You Get Me So High” polished it to the point of live perfection. All of the Neighbourhood’s songs are instrumentally strong, so it’s the subtleties that make the difference.
All around, the show was completely unorthodox. The band chose to close with fan favorite “Stuck With Me” rather than its smash-hit “Sweater Weather.” There was also no encore. The true disappointment, however, was that the band didn’t play “Sadderdaze,” the obvious standout on its latest album.
Field Medic, a one-man-band with an acoustic guitar as his only plan of attack, started the show off. Born Kevin Sullivan, the DIY artist displayed his raw talent and charisma effortlessly onstage. Caught somewhere between Vance Joy and the Front Bottoms, Field Medic combines sarcastic, quirky lyrics with stripped instrumentals.
HEALTH, the second opener, had absolutely nothing in common with the first, creating the perfect parallel to the diversity of the Neighbourhood. The first few minutes of HEALTH’s set made it seem like a hardcore, post-punk metal band, but as the group continued to play, its depth was revealed. Incorporating disco and dream pop, HEALTH, which relied heavily on synthesizers, created a lively yet dreamy alternate world.