Live Review: The Neighbourhood (Portsmouth Pyramid Centre, 18/03/16)


The show was interesting, but not especially enjoyable. When telling a friend of mine how things were, I was substantially crueler, stating that Jesse Rutherford on occasion sounded “like a sheep with hiccups”. Realising how mean that was I decided against submitting that statement. The review was scathing enough without it!

What happens when experimental rackets collide with audience members donning flashing rainbow platform boots, and screaming about how “yummy” the singer is? You get Californian rockers The Neighbourhood, deafeningly touring their second album, Wiped Out. Now, the killer question – how on earth can they make that work?

Sometimes it does. Centerpiece title track ‘Wiped Out’ is a defining place to start, beginning as a calm and electronic buzz, only to get angry. It is engulfed with wave-like white noise, rafter-rattling bass, topped with a rapidly ticking beat synced with strobe lights.

Unfortunately, this energy is short-lived as frontman Jesse Rutherford’s reclusive voice takes a seat behind the impressive noises made by everyone else. It is somewhat addressed by Rutherford himself with what may have been his longest spoken sentence of the show – “here’s some more music” and not “more songs”.

Rutherford is at his best when at his most hilariously loud and maniacal, leading the crowd to be the same. For example he flirtatiously caresses and sings to speakers during ‘Daddy Issues’, before throwing water at the crowd during ‘Warm’, clearing room to climb and shout from atop amplifiers.

Those platform boots are symbolic of tonight – just how awkward Neighbourhood shows can be to sing and dance in, especially when neither the frontman or even a sizable chunk of the audience seem very enthusiastic about their biggest hit ‘Sweater Weather’.

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