It was ironic to say the least, but perfect blue skies and sunshine were the backdrop for a band best known for their song “Sweater Weather”. This past Friday afternoon, the California indie rock band known as The Neighbourhood killed it on the stage of Chevy Court at the Great NY State Fair.
Even though they formed in 2011 and are relative newcomers to the music scene, the band was welcomed by fans as they took the stage to screams and applause. For just under an hour, this group of musicians gave a performance with their unique sound. The band has strong characteristics that come through in every song. They flawlessly combine an upbeat, pop rock style with catchy lyrics and sexy groove. Then, they top it off with just enough dark/mysterious edge that singer Jesse Rutherford’s vocals capture perfectly. The sensual tone in his voice is something so many strive to achieve, yet he does without any effort.
Chevy Court is in the heart of the Fair, surrounded by the buildings, people could enjoy the music as they walked between exhibits, activities, wine/moonshine slushy stands, beer gardens, and about the best fried food on the planet (Fried Specialties had the most incredible creation called the Twinx (Twix, stuffed inside a Twinkie, wrapped in bacon, and then deep-fried – Jim Hasbrouck you are genius).
These guys drew fans of all ages. However, these young men definitely had a strong fan base of females. The teenaged and 20-ish girls were heart-felt and passionately screaming at the band “I love you!”.
The attendees showed their appreciation for this free show by their pure energetic reaction to the melodies being shared with them. The excitement was due largely to the frontmans’ ability to get the audience engaged and participating – from raising their hands in the air to singing along with him.
Lead singer, Jesse Rutherford, smirked and absorbed his fans adoring yells with ease and a sense of cool aloofness that seem to make the girls want him more. As the first song “Female Robbery” started, the singer covered his face with his tattooed-covered arm, protecting his eyes. He later stated they had not seen the sun recently since they had been in Europe, chuckling, followed by saying, “This is awesome”.
Keeping true to their “look” of being a clean, monochromatic aesthetic, all members wore black and white with Rutherford somehow wearing a black beanie on the hot sunny day. The pale skin tone along with asking the audience to pretend it was night, leads me to believe these guys do not get to see daylight all that much. That did not inhibit their performance or energy.
A subtle demeanor from guitarist Jerry Freedman during his solo on the song “Baby Came Home” had a powerful, confident playing that captured the mood. Soft lingering notes seemed to float from the stage into the air, carrying them away in the imaginations of what the song meant to each person.
Their new song “Dangerous” was laid out in their set. While it kept with the band’s sound, it had a different groove and feel to make you want to find out what else they have in store next. This is a band to keep an eye on and watch bloom and boom into the music scene even more.
Set List: Female Robbery, Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh-Oh), Let It Go, Jealou$y, W.D.Y.W.F.M.?, Baby Came Home, A Little Death, Wires, How, Lurk, Dangerous, Sweater Weather, Afraid
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