Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Neighbourhood at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

The Neighbourhood formed in California in August 2011. The band is composed of vocalist Jesse Rutherford, guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott, and drummer Bryan Sammis. After releasing two EPs, 2012’s Thank You, and 2013’s I'm Sorry..., the Neighbourhood released its first full length album, I Love You., on April 23, 2013.

The Neighbourhood has marketed its black-and-white imagery in all its artwork, videos and stage appearances. Folks, this is not novel. Many early rockers did this, David Bowie did it again for a time decades ago and the Hives still do it. Those acts did it with classy suits and tuxedos, but the Neighbourhood is doing it with cheap casual clothing. By the way, guys, all those tattoos will one day become black and white as well. Okay, the concert. While most bands open with a fast and exciting crowd mover, the Neighbourhood opened with a soft and moody song. It was a forecast of things to come. The band’s entire set allowed for head-bobbing and hip-swinging responses, but it was never thrilling. Quite the opposite, the tone was rather dark and gloomy. Cascading soundscapes and a hard-working and charismatic front man never really lifted the music into the stratosphere, crowd participation notwithstanding. For those accustomed to color, the Neighbourhood’s musical approach might have been just too black and white.