Introducing themselves with a cacophony of ambient, eerie synthesizers, the moody boys of the Neighbourhood swept audience members at the Fox Theater into their monochrome aesthetic from the second they stepped onto the stage. Flashing white lights illuminated the dark theater, complementing the band members’ grayscale attire and dark, indie hip-hop fusion.
Despite hailing from the sunny skies of Los Angeles, the Neighbourhood sticks to a strict black-and-white color code. This means that the band even turns down TV appearances that won’t feature it with the monochrome filter. Perhaps these guys are taking themselves a little too seriously, but you have to admire the dedication to their image.
“Oakland, how you doin’?” crooned lead singer Jesse Rutherford. Clad in all black, including a beret and a sparkly sweater, Rutherford looked mildly ridiculous before shedding the sweater in favor of a loose-fitting T-shirt that showed off his tattoos. He gyrated across the stage, swaying his hips in a display of self-aware sex appeal.
The other band members faded into the black-and-white background as Rutherford took center stage. His lush R&B vocals and energetic stage presence enveloped the theater, but he never neglected the crowd, urging them to sing along at the top of their lungs.
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the Neighbourhood’s performance of “Afraid.” The brazenly unapologetic lyrics, “You’re too mean, I don’t like you, fuck you anyway / You make me wanna scream at the top of my lungs,” were a crowd favorite. Rutherford encouraged fans to raise their middle fingers in the air, turning the mic toward the crowd to let them lead the cathartic “fuck you.”
The show took an unexpected turn when Rutherford stopped the set upon spotting an audience member experiencing a health issue. “We’ve just gotta make sure everyone’s okay,” he explained. The band members quietly slow-jammed while they waited for the fan to be moved out of the crowd safely. During the lull, Rutherford asked if anyone had something to smoke. “This is the Bay Area, right?” he grinned.
As a result of the medical emergency in tandem with the band’s late arrival, the Neighbourhood’s set was unfortunately cut short. After launching into “R.I.P. 2 My Youth,” the popular lead single to the band’s forthcoming sophomore album, Wiped Out!, the Neighborhood bid the audience goodbye before strutting off the stage without an encore.
Despite the abrupt end to the night, fans happily buzzed about the show as they poured out of the dark theater and into the streetlights. People went their separate ways, ready to enjoy the rest of their Saturday evening with the late-night soundtrack of the Neighbourhood still echoing in their ears.
Madeline Wells covers music. Contact her at [email protected].