The Neighbourhood delivers memorable performance at The Blue Note


Photo by Emily Franke

Emily Franke

The Neighbourhood’s performance at the Blue Note on the Tuesday Night, Oct. 22, was an eye opener. Artists who create a unique sound are easier to distinguish from the mainstream. When every fast-paced, poppy song on the radio blends together, those artists with an individual style catch the ear and leave their impression on the listener.

For the Neighbourhood, the unique quality of the music centers in an interesting blend of instrumentation and the voice of lead singer, Jesse Rutherford.

Rutherford’s voice on recording sounds dreamlike, as if his voice rested just out of reach behind a screen of mellow instrumentation. A live performance, however, unveiled his voice and allowed his lyrics to flow, unrefined, to the ears of his audience.

Not only is Rutherford’s voice, soothing, but also articulate over an interesting blend of R&B, hip hop and surreal indie sounds. The effect of a slow tempo, a varied pattern in the drums and the rhythm of the words created an ever-present atmosphere of relaxation in just about every song. Even when the song’s tempo was “raised” the real pulse remained just around 60 beats per minute, a perfect tempo to sway to.

Overhead stage lights flashed in time with the beat of the drum. The constant variance of white lighting in the white-fogged room created a mesmerizing view. With no more than a splash of purple light midway through the show, The Neighbourhood filled the Blue Note with more color than any rainbow of flashing lights could achieve.

Even more, the Neighbourhood’s music is not the kind that evokes a mosh pit or a frenzy of fist pumping and jumping; instead, it is music that allows the listener to move and groove easily, just as the artists do. Watch the artists-they sway in a natural way that draws you in and convinces you that they are interested in what they are playing and that you should be too.

Overall, this performance showed the ease and naturality of The Neighbourhood’s art, through the sound and the visual effects, and this added a new perspective to their music. While The Neighbourhood is great on the radio or on Pandora, their live performance adds a raw element to their subdued personality that really wins the audience over.
By Emily Franke