The Neighbourhood floods Pittsburgh
California natives The Neighbourhood, also referred to as The NBHD, came to Stage AE as part of their Flood tour last Monday. This band became famous after their hit song “Sweater Weather,” and infuse elements of electronic, rock, and hip-hop music into their songs. The show featured Hunny and Bad Suns as the opening acts. Both bands have a similar alternative rock sound to The Neighbourhood, but Bad Suns seemed to draw more excitement from the crowd.
Despite the fact that the concert was on a Monday night, fans still came out to see the bands perform. Keeping true with their overall black and white aesthetic, the band came out in predominantly black clothing and a black backdrop with white stage lights. The band opened with a song from their album [ITAL]I Love You[ITAL] called “W.D.Y.W.F.M.?,” an acronym that stands for "What Do You Want From Me?" The infectious chorus had everyone in the crowd — those who were there for more than just “Sweater Weather” — singing along with lead singer and certified heartthrob Jesse Rutherford as he sang about wanting to know what his girlfriend wanted from him. One thing about the concert that caught me a little off guard was the lack of communication between the band and the audience. After every couple of songs, Jesse would look out into the crowd and say “thank you” as if he suddenly remembered that we were there. Aside from that, there was no band introduction or interesting stories to accompany songs or anything. While this made much of the concert feel very formal and impersonal, it also allowed listeners to just focus on the music.
The band also played several songs from their EPs I’m Sorry… and Thank You, such as “Let It Go,” “Baby Came Home,” and “Female Robbery.” “Let It Go” was accompanied by an amazing display of white lights flashing every time the chorus came around. This, accompanied with the lyrics of letting go, helped to ease all the stress that any students at the concert had about not being at home doing homework on a Monday night. While the band’s use of lights and a black and white backdrop added to the chill ambiance they usually provide, it made it difficult to actually see more than just their silhouettes the whole night. Jesse’s smooth voice serenaded the crowd during “Baby Came Home” as he sang with so much passion and sadness that you almost felt as if your baby left you. They finished the set of old jams with “Female Robbery,” a song about wanting to just be kidnapped and escape the current life you live. Although we all sang along about wanting to escape, there was nowhere else that we wanted to be than stuck in the black and white haze of The Neighbourhood.
The band also played a few songs from their upcoming album Wiped Out!, set to release on Oct. 30, such as “The Beach” and “Wiped Out!” Even though many people did not know the words to these songs, the audience was still filled with excitement at having the chance to get an exclusive listen of their new music. Probably the best moment of the entire show was when the entire band silently left the stage and only Jesse reemerged wearing no shirt and a fur coat. This marked a transition from their alternative rock music to their more hip hop influenced music. He rapped a few songs from their mixtape #000000 & #FFFFFF. This mixtape includes several collaborations with hip hop artists such as Dej Loaf, YG, and French Montana.
By this point in the show, if they hadn’t realized it already, audience members realized that The Neighbourhood — and particularly Jesse — were cool in every sense of the word. As he stood on stage rapping about his California roots in his song “When I Get Back,” it was hard not to want to either be him or be his best friend. He closed the set with “#icanteven,” a song about getting cheated on. During this time, the backdrop also changed from a predominantly black backdrop to a white backdrop with pictures of pop culture references and California. This change of pace kept the concert exciting and reminded the audience of just how diverse their music can be and how much they allow other genres to influence them.
They closed their set with “Sweater Weather” and their new single “R.I.P. 2 My Youth.” Of course everyone was excited to hear “Sweater Weather” as it instantly transported the crowd back to 2012 when the band first emerged on the scene. Even people who didn’t know the words to any other songs sang along to the chorus of this pop hit. “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” then took the crowd in a much different direction as Jesse sang about the loss of innocence and his late father. Despite the sad message behind this song, it still filled everyone with anticipation for what’s to come on the new album.
Overall, the concert was an amazing time. It wasn’t as hyped and exciting as you would expect a concert to be, but that’s just the aura that comes with The Neighbourhood’s black and white aesthetic. I do wish that the band would’ve talked to the crowd more to make it feel more personal, and it would have been great to hear more songs from their studio album I Love You. I also wish that the lighting was slightly different so that the audience could’ve seen their faces better. Despite these hangups, however, I left the concert with good memories and even more reassured of my interest in this band. They’re suave, cool, and chill, and their concert embodied those three defining elements.