Recap by Nadia Noir, Photos by Gabriel Olsen
Shrouded in black-and-white with their music a cool mixture of surf-noir indie-pop and lo-fi R&B, The Neighbourhood seems like they would be pretentious. But artistic predilections can be deceiving. With a name like The Neighbourhood and an actual boys-next-door status (the band is from nearby Newbury Park), the boys prove to just be chill, relatable California dudes. Frontman Jesse Rutherford doesn’t even skip a beat when the first audience prompt he gets is to take his pants off. “Let’s at least get one song in before I take my pants off,” he jokes. It’s not that he’s shy because Rutherford went totally NSFW pantsless in the band’s video for “Afraid.”
It’s that they are serious musicians with a light-hearted personalities. While they are all jokes and smiles onstage, Rutherford told Nicole Alvarez that in their songwriting studio sessions they “take it really seriously” and “take each others opinions seriously.” He claims they need to “concentrate more” on having fun. “We get so caught up in wanting to write something that’s really good,” confessed Rutherford. They are so serious about their craft that they claim to not listen to other music so they don’t influenced by it, but that hardcore focus has provided them with the opportunity to be, according to them, the first band to release a mixtape.
It’s an all-original project; it’s going to have all-new songs on it. But, we’re just putting it out for free because I mean, we have done pretty good and ‘Sweater Weather’ is double platinum, thanks to all you guys, it’s great, but like we want to be able to put out more music and be able to keep up,” explained Rutherford. “I feel like rock bands are kind of missing that in this day and age. Nobody’s giving enough of anything, so we just want to give even more.”
The Neighbourhood gives more to their fans in lots more ways than their music. Rutherford’s petite blonde girlfriend Anabel Englund was there and before the band even took the stage, the girls in the audience knew who she was. They tried to get her attention, whispered how much they loved her and her style, and seemed to give “Annie” (as emblazoned in Rutherford’s heart tattoo dedicated to his “little lady” on his shoulder) almost as much attention as they did the band.
They probably know Englund through Rutherford’s activity on his Twitter and Instagram. The band uses their social media as a way to connect one-on-one with the fans and friends, engaging in conversations that most artists won’t have. Rutherford told Alvarez that he likes Instagram better because “there’s pictures” and, later, the band and their entourage took to posting tons of pictures of their experience at the Red Bull Sound Space. Including a special delivery of the band’s favorite pizza: Toppers. This connection to their fans via the internet is something totally modern and since The Neighbourhood are super-savvy, stylish Millenials, it makes sense that their tour bus requirements are the three W’s: “Wi-fi, water, and weed.” Gone are the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Which for The Neighbourhood’s fans sakes is a good thing. We want this young band on their game for years to come.