with Kitten & Born Casual
Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Neighbourhood have the steam to keep them rolling for the moment. The California band is coming off a national tour opening for Imagine Dragons last year and are riding the success of their single "Sweater Weather." On Tuesday, the band returned to the cities to headline and show us if they can make it or not.
If the Neighbourhood could live in a black and white world, they would. Their set utilized only white lights, and the band was cloaked in black and shadows. Even if you look at their promo photos, they eschew color.
Their music is certainly not colorless; the band's sound is a mix of rock with reggae and not quite rap -- but fast-talking lyrics. Cast in deep shadows as they took they stage, they were a little reminiscent of Linkin Park or 311 in delivery. The band opened with "Silver," a new piece off their upcoming album, aptly named Black & White. The song has a Neighbourhood signature sound of gravelly bass and glittery guitars, making a bed for lead singer Jesse Rutherford's buttery voice.
If there was any doubt, Rutherford commanded a lot more attention than the rest of the band. Not everyone can rock a leather jacket and patent leather loafers with a headful of bleached blonde hair, but Rutherford wore them all like a second skin. He moved across the stage, dancing and gyrating to the beat with the confidence that all eyes were on him. Perhaps that's why the band penned a song called "Everybody's Watching Me (Uh Oh)." Rutherford knows his sex appeal, and he sold it to the crowd.
While many of their pieces like "Let It Go" and "Female Robbery" are extremely catchy, their slower tracks like ""W.D.Y.W.F.M" and "Lurk" dragged the night down, unless you were four drinks into the night -- as much of the audience was. The band's demographic isn't really a young teenage crowd, but more early twenties who have recently earned the ability to drink legally, so the alcohol was flowing freely.[page]
When you have only one album out, the set will be a short one with no encore. Dang. With the opening beat of "Sweater Weather," the audience got what they came for: an accidentally poignant love song that houses a West Coast vibe. Even though "Sweater Weather" was the single chosen for radio, "Afraid," their last song of the evening, in sound and style better represents the band. It describes the highs and lows of a volatile relationship where you love someone so much that everything is in extreme black and white.
Critic's bias: I saw The Neighbourhood open for Imagine Dragons last year, and they immediately made an impression on me. The Skyway Theatre wasn't extremely full, but perhaps the band can pull more people in the next time they are in town.
The crowd: Mostly young women in their early twenties with some guys. The Neighbourhood is one of those bands that guys aren't afraid to like.
Random notebook dump: Openers Kitten were extremely arresting to watch. Lead singer Chloe Chaidez was everywhere from on the shoulders of a security guard to hopping off monitors. It's not clear if their appeal stems from her energy or if the music is actually good.
Everybody's Watching Me (Uh Oh)
Let It Go
Baby Come Home
A Little Death