Arts, Music, Off Campus

The Neighbourhood Swings Through Energetic House of Blues Set

Swinging from the rafters while clinging to a chain-link microphone hanging from the ceiling, The Neighbourhood’s frontman Jesse Rutherford epitomized the band’s Oct. 2 House of Blues show: a pendulum that swung between two extremes, sometimes flailing and sometimes soaring.

A DJ kicked off opener IDK’s set with a mashup of popular songs. He created effortless transitions between juxtaposed tracks: The DJ started with Panic! at the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and immediately followed with “Stir Fry” by Migos, the crowd jumping and singing along to both. A highlight of his roughly 15-minute intro was a clip from “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” for which he turned down the chorus and let the audience sing the lyrics a cappella. The diverse range of tracks he chose reflected the musical influences of The Neighbourhood, a band that has dabbled in hip-hop, rock, and pop, and sometimes all three at once, over the course of its seven-year career.

IDK paired his sweatsuit with a Ronald Reagan mask for his first song, a fast a cappella rap. The rapper, who is featured on The Neighbourhood’s Sept. 21-released “Beautiful Oblivion,” acknowledged that many may not have been familiar with his music at the start of his set.

“My goal is by the end of this show y’all f—k with me,” IDK said.

The rapper packed his set with gimmicks to fill in his meager repertoire: He paid a brief tribute to XXXTentacion, called House of Blues security guard Ryan Margulis (Wax Tesseract) on stage to freestyle, and incited a “women only” mosh pit in the audience for his last song “17 Wit a 38.”

Loud sounds of a lively jungle and clock tower bells vibrated throughout the venue prior to the Los Angeles-based band’s entrance. Starting with I Love You. hit “How,” The Neighbourhood embarked on a breathless sprint through its discography. The three songs that followed—including the booming Wiped Out! single “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” and winding Hard to imagine track “Dust”—bled into one another, giving the audience no opportunity to pause and appreciate one song before being thrust into the madness of the next. The energy was high at the onset: The audience emitted deafening cheers when Rutherford first swung over the crowd and spat the lyric “F—k you anyway” back at him during “Afraid.” But by the fifth song, “You Get Me So High,” crowd members needed a moment to breathe.

Rutherford seemed to outrun the crowd throughout the night, constantly moving around the stage, beckoning to various audience members with endearing gestures, and reaching into the first rows of the packed general admission pit. Toward the middle of the set, the band switched up the tempo to play slower tracks “Daddy Issues,” “Void,” and “Saturdaze.” “Daddy Issues” proved a favorite of both the crowd and the band—guitarist Zach Abels moved to the front of the stage and grinned through the deep chords. Rutherford shrunk his immense stage presence for “Saturdaze” to deliver the peak of the show, perfectly hitting the haunting high notes of the final chorus.

The Neighbourhood opted out of an encore and instead made the most of the songs in its regular set. Toward the end of the night, it seemed that Rutherford achieved the daunting task of matching the crowd’s energy with his own. Screams flooded the venue at the close of “Scary Love,” a song from the band’s 2018 self-titled album, of which the crowd knew all the words. Following an explosive performance of the 2012 track “Wires,” in which Rutherford followed the line “If he said help me kill the president” with a cheeky proposal to do it now, the singer front flipped into the crowd and surfed during the extended instrumental of “Warm.”

Fans chanted the entirety of the lyrics to “Sweater Weather,” the band’s 2013 radio hit, and bounced along to the band’s final song, “Stuck With You,” as drummer Brandon Alexander Fried banged out the beat and Rutherford caught a cheetah print bra from the crowd. Despite struggling to gauge the crowd’s energy early in the show, The Neighbourhood leveled the energy of the packed venue before leaving the House of Blues stage.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

October 4, 2018