In typical November fashion, the line outside Express Live! crowded closer to the doors as it began to snow preceding The Neighbourhood concert Monday night. The staff graciously opened the doors early to provide relief from the below-freezing temperatures, and fans were very thankful. As the building filled, the anticipation grew. Most fans — myself included — have been listening to the headliner since 2013.
There were two openers for the show. Originating from Chicago, solo-artist Claud started the night singing songs from their new EP and other released singles, including crowd favorite “Wish You Were Gay.” Claud was very interactive with the crowd and knew how to work the stage well with their touring drummer and guitarist. While the crowd enjoyed Claud’s music, their soft pop style differed greatly from the energy of The Neighbourhood and was certainly not a pairing I would’ve imagined.
The next opener was a band from Los Angeles called Soft Hollows, which includes a lead singer and guitarist, pianist and guitarist, bass player, and drummer. The band’s indie pop-rock style certainly complemented the genre of the headliner better, getting the crowd prepared for the main act. Soft Hollows interacted well with the crowd, most notably when bassist Aaron Jassenoff and crowd members got into a dance battle during the middle of the set. While the two openers ranged greatly in style, they both worked the stage and showed great individuality.
When The Neighbourhood’s opening music came over the speaker, the crowd got still, waiting for the show to begin. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford stepped out from behind the curtain in full get-up as his alias Chip Chrome, dressed and painted head to toe in silver. Starting off with an acoustic rendition of “Middle of Somewhere,” Rutherford wowed the audience with his vocals and musical creativity. Then, the curtain dropped, and the whole band took the stage to continue its set. The band members showed off their amazing musical ability by playing an instrumental solo, as Rutherford left the stage to wipe off the silver paint and join the rest of the band in matching silver suits.
The band continued to play favorites, including “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” and “Sweater Weather,” as well as sample an unreleased song from its upcoming album — for which a release date has not yet been set. The music was played just as well — if not better — live than the recorded versions, which is a feat in itself. Rutherford and guitarist Zach Abels certainly knew how to work the crowd, moving around the stage and interacting with audience members. And, of course, Rutherford swung across the stage and above the crowd on his trademark chain, mounted from the ceiling.
With all of the outstanding performances of the night, the crowd left excited and desperate for more, while crowding by the exit, hoping to keep from encountering the snow and being ushered to leave by staff. For someone with high expectations for the night, it lived up to everything I imagined. When looking for both a band and crowd that encourage a good time, The Neighbourhood would certainly be worth checking out.