(Photos and Words by: Gianfranc Pipitone)
It was Friday afternoon when I got the email. Something about The Neighbourhood and The Danforth Music Hall. I didn’t know anything about The Neighbourhood, but considering The Danforth is one of my favourite live venues – with their massive ceilings and decorative walls that tell of another time – I accepted. Of course as a self-described metal head, I wasn’t too excited when my sister screamed “I HATE YOU, I LOVE THEM!! The band that does “Sweater Weather!” Fast-forward a few hours, I got to the venue just in time to catch the last bit of the Bad Suns set, and it was game time. With my camera bouncing at one hip, and my briefcase of gear at the other, I followed the convoy of photographers into the pit with the lights flashing – just three songs and I’m free.
Before I knew it, musicians were flying across the stage, blasting the crowd. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford started doing spins with the mic stand just inches from my camera, darting across the stage like a frantic conductor puppeteering the show. To say the show was boring would be a lie. To say the music was bad would also be a lie. Before I knew it, my time in the pit was done but in those three songs, the band sold me and I leaned back to enjoy the rest of the show. The best way I can describe their sound is pop, with a dark edge and a heavy dose of technologically inspired rock. The light show alone was an entirely unique experience, playing out like a noir film with a hint of neon. Neo noir? Neon Noir! The show hit an all-time high about halfway through, the band finished a song but let the sound continue onwards as the feedback raised in intensity as the drummer kept a pulsating rhythm. The lights were flashing to the point where I couldn’t even look at the stage. After what felt like an extremely long time, the sound peaked and slowly died down as the lights dimmed to pure darkness. Silence was followed by a giant flash of white light bathing the crowd. Jesse soon returned without the band to perform a solo piece with the crowd. Soon, the band rejoined him on stage to finish off the set.
It’s too easy to judge a band by their most known works, and I was definitely guilty of it, however below the surface of their singles lies true artistry and a creative force that is a unique change to the pop scene. Sometimes it takes stepping out of your comfort zone to truly appreciate something new, regardless of how much radio time their singles might get.