Written by Robert B. Johnson (@RobertSatellite on Twitter)
ImageIt was all black and white.

That’s the way The Neighbourhood presents itself. Everything is black and white.

With fans at Bayou Music Center clad in black and white, nWo-esque THE NBHD t-shirts, and black and white video imagery playing on the background screens, The Neighbourhood hit the stage to colorless lighting. Yahoo Music, who was in town to stream the concert live, ran the entire show in black and white.

This particular artistic styling suits The Neighbourhood.  A bit brash, but full of bravado, the band members are themselves on stage, leaving judgement to the fans in attendance. In return, they are adored by the fans. Really, it’s all black and white.

After opening with Female Robbery, the band got the crowd going with Everybody’s Watching Me. Melodic, catchy, and fun, Everybody’s Watching Me provided the perfect sonic landscape for fans in attendance to really let loose.

With the dynamic between the band and the crowd becoming more pronounced, the energy in the room started to hit a fever pitch. As fans scratched and clawed their way to the barricade, vocalist Jesse Rutherford made the stage his own. Frantically moving from one side to the other to pour attention upon his fans, Rutherford explored his vocal range without a care. At Bayou, Rutherford took liberties with his songs that went beyond anything that can be found on the record.

Clearly having a blast, Rutherford encouraged fan participation. “Ok, this next song is about California.  I don’t care if you know the chorus or not… Just make some noise.” And that they did! When the chorus hit, every member of the audience sang along, belting out “Let It Go” as if they were on stage themselves.

It wasn’t just about singing along. Rutherford wanted to move the crowd as well. Literally. Gearing up for “Dangerous,” he asked, “Houston, do you want to bounce?”

For the band’s breakthrough song, and most popular hit, “Sweater Weather,” Rutherford left the stage to join the fans in the crowd. As a musician, his talent is clear. But, as a performer, he is in a league of his own. Rutherford shares a passionate connection with his fans, perfectly captured during moments of “Sweater Weather.” In a sign of how times are changing, he asked the fans to lift up their cell phones (back in the day, they’d be holding up lighters). On command, virtually every cell phone went into the air. A sea of technology capturing the moments being shared.

For the last song of the night, The Neighbourhood sent fans home happy with its latest single, “Afraid.” With middle fingers in the air, Rutherford and fans in attendance sang together.

“You’re too mean, I don’t like you, fuck you anyway.”

Right now, The Neighbourhood has it all. A good looking group of young, talented musicians, the only thing that can stop their momentum is themselves. Yet, with an undying belief in themselves and a special charisma that must be seen to be truly understood, they certainly won’t be going anywhere but up for the foreseeable future. Just last year, The Neighbourhood played as opening act at the sold out Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion in support of Imagine Dragons. Now, they’re packing one of Houston’s largest venues, Bayou Music Center, on their own.

If there could be a complaint about the night, it would be the notable absence of two of the band’s best songs. Neither “Alleyways” nor “How” made it on to the night’s setlist. In all likelihood, this was due to time constraints associated with Yahoo’s time allotment for the live performance. However, it was unusual to see a band with a red-hot crowd leave the stage without an encore. If anything, it just leaves added incentive to see them again.

Appealing to fans across hip-hop, rock, and stadium-rock genres, The Neighbourhood is an eclectic experience all-around. If you get a chance to see them live, jump at the opportunity. I know I will.


Female Robbery
Everybody’s Watching Me
Baby Came Home
A Little Death
West Coast
Let It Go
Sweater Weather

Contact Robert at robert@starsandsatellites.com or @RobertSatellite on Twitter