The Neighbourhood Are a Band on the Rise

April 30th, 2013

The Neighbourhood – The Bowery Ballroom – April 29, 2013

The Neighbourhood are the anti-Beatles. Let me explain: In 1964, the Beatles jumped across the pond and invaded the United States. With their matching mop tops, sweet songs, and happy-go-lucky attitude, the Fab Four induced a complete craziness among teenage girls that might never be equaled (despite Bieber Fever). Forty-nine years later, California indie band (despite the English spelling) the Neighbourhood, played The Bowery Ballroom. With their matching buzzed heads, epic songs, and übermasculine attitude, the Neighbourhood induced crazy make-out sessions among adults last night.

I’m being dramatic, sure, but it’s true. Where the Beatles killed with catchy pop, the Neighbourhood are a little more subtle. Their songs burn slow until they get hot and overpower. The rhythm section pounds away at a steady, driving thump while guitars build a landscape beneath Jesse Rutherford’s vocals. The frontman holds together everything with his cool phrasing, singing alternately into a standard vocal microphone and a blues harmonica microphone, which gave his voice more bite, à la Julian Casablancas.

All of this is not to say that the band doesn’t have fun or that the audience becomes the New York City stereotype of dispassionate concertgoers. The Neighbourhood have built a true live show, where they engage the crowd and bring fans into their world. “I’m gonna be that guy right now,” said Rutherford as he asked for some call-and-response participation. He didn’t have to care about being “that guy,” because the audience was completely enraptured by him all along. It may not fair to compare the Neighbourhood to the Beatles, but soon enough, they’ll be a household name. —Alex Kapelman

(Go see the Neighbourhood play Music Hall of Williamsburg on 6/26 and The Bowery Ballroom on 6/29.)