LIVE: The Neighbourhood @ O2 Ritz, Manchester (20/03/2016)

Date: March 20th 2016
Venue: O2 Ritz, Manchester
Support: Kevin Abstract / MOTHXR


Though they may not be bothering the charts over here in the UK as much as they are back in the States, California’s The Neighbourhood and their unconventional and darker brushed brand of indie rock is certainly one that hits well with their fans. It hits well enough for every UK date of their headline European tour to sell out, so evidently last year’s broody R&B tinged full-length ‘Wiped Out!’ has, well, wiped the floor.

After an extremely dramatic opening with a pre-recorded intro, with an ominous female voice, repeating several statements of “Death to [insert noun]”. Soon enough, the blue afro equipped Kevin Abstract [5] appears on a stool in a ray of light with a quick “hello” before proceeding with his short set. He’s certainly not what you’d expect as an opening act for tonight’s headliners, flipping between catchy pop R&B to some slightly aggressive rapping. He gets the crowd involved and warmed up, but a lot of his material seems a little half-baked and unfinished.

Sounding a bit like Coldplay‘s far more talented yet ashamedly less appreciate brother, Brooklyn’s MOTHXR [7] are nothing short of interesting. Playing a bunch of cuts from their latest output ‘Centrefolds’, they may not be a household names by any degree, but they’ve certainly got a great platform to pull in some new fans on this tour run, and they’ve definitely pulled a few new ones tonight. If nothing else, Penn Badgley‘s soaring voice is something to admire.

In keeping with the general theme that the band have portrayed throughout their career, for the most part The Neighbourhood [7] stick to stark white and/or pitch black when it comes to the evening’s stage lighting with the odd inclusion of colour here and there. Jesse Rutherford, who is sporting a 50 Cent t-shirt whilst strutting about the stage, has his voice lost in the mix a little to begin with, but shortly everything stabilises and his croons for the likes of ‘Prey’, ‘W.D.Y.W.F.M.’ and the more timid ‘Daddy Issues’ cut through smoothly.

The highlight of the evening easily lies within the last moments of the band’s set. Breakthrough single ‘Sweater Weather’ gets a massive reaction, with the crowd on many occasions over powering the band as they wail back the infectious chorus, before sliding into closing track ‘R.I.P. 2 My Youth’, both of which cementing The Neighbourhood‘s ever growing presence on our shores. They evidently aren’t aiming for popularity with the music they craft, but its coming their way anyway.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)