On Tuesday, June 24, The Neighbourhood came to the Complex along with Rapper, Travis Scott, and Indie Rock band, White Arrows. For those who are unfamiliar with The Neighbourhood, they are a rock band from Newbury Park, California, who combine elements of hip-hop with elements of Indie/psychedelic Goth rock.
The first band was a psychedelic pop-rock band from Los Angeles that go by the name of White Arrows. They had a very contagious pop sound that was driven by synthesizers and guitar. Similar to bands like The Killers, The Bravery, and Depeche Mode. The members seemed confident in their ability and, technically speaking, they performed very well. However, all the band members, except for the singer, stood still while playing. They were led by a very energetic and quirky frontman who, at one point, put on a dark purple wig that made him look like Jack White (or a character from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World).
(Is that Jack White on stage?)
White Arrows has one full-length album titled Dry Land Is Not a Myth. They are releasing their second LP, In Bardo, in the fall. They were also named by SPIN magazine as an “Underdog To Watch.”
Next, Travis Scott came on stage. This Houston rapper definitely compensated for the lack of energy from the White Arrows performance. He first had his producer come out and play some hip-hop/EDM music to get the crowd excited and ready for Travis. After a few tracks, Travis Scott came out swinging, yelling at the top of his lungs and throwing his water all over the crowd. Travis Scott proved that he is one wild performer. He has previously co-produced Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, and Magna Carta…Holy Grail by Jay Z. Now the rapper is looking to make his own musical career. He may have seemed to be an interesting choice to open for The Neighbourhood, but considering their hip-hop influences and the fact that Travis Scott got the crowd wild and ready for headlining band, he fit perfectly in the line-up.
The Neighbourhood came out dancing and swinging with a lot of energy on their opener, “Female Robbery.” Even though their music isn’t necessarily up-tempo dance music, the band performed and moved around the stage as though they were.
The guitars and vocals were put through massive amounts of reverb and delay effects, adding dramatically to the “black & white” Goth atmosphere that the band wanted to portray. They had a projector screen set up behind them, that they used to display images from black & white movies, cartoons, and other images to entertain the audience and even add depth to their songs. For one song in particular, “Wires”, they had a short film play on the screen. The film showed these college graduates falling of a conveyer belt into a giant cardboard box and then being made into puppets by this giant omnipotent being in a suit and tie. There was something very dark and eerie about the imagery of The Neighbourhood’s performance, but it only added to the experience and gave the audience a lot more to take away from the show than just a handful of songs. The band ended up performing most of their LP, I Love You, along with a few B sides ("West Coast", "Leaving Tonight", etc.). The other stand-outs to me were when they performed their new song “Jealousy” from their new EP(or "mixtape"), Black & White.
And, of course, when they performed their double-platinum hit, “Sweater Weather.” The band closed their set with “Afraid” and the reverb from their guitar and vocal effects kept ringing long after the band left the stage.
While seeing The Neighbourhood, I couldn’t help but think of bands like Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. I suppose that Goth rock is making a comeback with bands like The Neighbourhood, The 1975, and Phantogram. The Neighbourhood may not sound like this glamorous or grandiose rock band, but they perform with this loudness and focused chaos that makes the dark things in life look and sound beautiful.
Written by: Zach McEntire (Intern) (Twitter:@mcentirezach)