Photocredit: Patrick Gunning
The Neighbourhood’s most recent album is titled “Hard to Imagine the Neighbourhood Ever Changing” and they proved just that at their sold-out show in Brixton. The Neighbourhood, led by Jesse Rutherford, rose to fame at the same time as The 1975 - they even toured together, but have since gone their separate ways. Whilst The 1975 have moved on to a bright "pop-y" aesthetic, the Neighbourhood have remained entrenched in their dark moody ambience.
The set list combined an effortless mix of new and old songs, including their rap-infused mixtape “#000000 & #FFFFFF.” The evening started with ‘How,’ the opening song from the Neighbourhood’s first album “I Love You.” Unfortunately, the sound quality at the venue was sub-par, dimming the haunting sound effects and seductive vocals that the Neighbourhood are notorious for. Nevertheless, Jesse Rutherford’s stage presence almost made up for it.
The stage decor for the set was rather minimal, with only the band’s name in the background, and a long overhead microphone taking centre stage, whilst the band remained far behind.This allowed for Jesse to be the star of the show as he casually swung on the microphone during certain songs to the crowd’s delight. It is clear that Jesse Rutherford is aware of his magnetic persona as he pranced around in skinny jeans and a tattoo-covered chest. The more energetic songs like ‘24/7’ and ‘Scary Love’ from the band’s most recent album allowed him to dance across the stage, to mass hysteria giving him a rock star attitude that almost mirrored Freddie Mercury’s. However, songs like ‘Dust’ and ‘Rip 2 My Youth’ transformed Jesse into a cocky Los Angeles teenager, sticking out his tongue and screaming ad-libs through his auto-tuned microphone. He manages to counter his evident arrogance with a charming allure that makes watching his performance somewhat endearing.
Whilst the band’s sound has not varied much from their early days, newer songs are infused with an almost dreamy tint to them. Songs such as the sultry ‘Void’ were received with the same enthusiasm as older hits like ‘Afraid’ and ‘Daddy Issues’. However, midway through the set, each track started to blend together, and the energy died down, which was unfortunate as the band had a wide catalogue of songs to choose from.
Nevertheless, the energy picked back up with an energetic performance of ‘Scary Love’, which proved that the last few songs were definitely the highlight of the show. During ‘Warm,’Jesse Rutherford crowd surfed as the song’s dramatic sound effects filled the venue, emphasising the energy that could be felt throughout the show. He, then, made his way back onto stage through the crowd to perform the band’s most popular song ‘Sweater Weather,’ which he knew the audience was looking forward to all night. He, then, ended with the very catchy and danceable song called ‘Stuck With Me’ from their last album.
Overall, despite a failing sound system and a set list that missed out on some better songs, the Neighbourhood put on a good show. Jesse’s stage presence was unparalleled and the nostalgia of watching the Neighbourhood perform made up for all of the possible flaws.
Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova