With lyrics like "I donâ€™t like you, f*ck you anyway," "you suck anyway" and "you make me wanna die," itâ€™s safe to say that glum rockers The Neighbourhood donâ€™t really need any more reasons to be angsty and angry. But thatâ€™s unfortunately exactly what happened Sunday night at the U.S. Cellular Stage, where some apparent behind-the-scenes technical issues sent the California-based rockers off the stage in a huff and the excited young crowd home disappointed.
It seemed to open strong, with the guys starting off as black silhouettes out on the smoky white stage, rocking out their set opener "Female Robbery." There was a brief audio dip and the lead guitar seemed very low, but a few mix issues are to be expected on the first couple of songs; otherwise, it was a good start.
The bandâ€™s cloudy California beach brand of moody rock sounded good and visually, the stage looked cool, with the boys seemingly in black-and-white (even the screen showed the concert sans color) and aided by black-and-white film and cartoon clips.
Things, however, were apparently not all good in The Neighbourhood. After the opener, lead singer Jesse Rutherford told the crowd essentially that it sucked, that they werenâ€™t quite ready and for the fans to "pause your turn up." Itâ€™s hard to say what exactly the problem was â€“ Rutherford would later describe it as "computer sh*t" â€“ but something somewhere was wrong.
At first, the band seemed to be handling the situation above and beyond pros. Rutherford chatted a bit with the crowd, eventually performing the stripped down rap of "West Coast" as some "story time" before heading into "Sweater Weather," one of the bandâ€™s big radio hits.
The technical issues may have left the mix sounding a tad on the empty side, but then again, it was very minor. Plus, a "Pulp Fiction" clip of Vincent Vega dancing playing on a loop on a side screen made everything better.
After "Sweater Weather," the technical snafus seemed to be fixed, and The Neighbourhood launched back into "Female Robbery" 15 minutes after attempt No. 1. The music perhaps sounded a bit richer and had more heft, but now Rutherfordâ€™s vocals seemed low on the mix. Ominously, the next song on the setlist? "Everybodyâ€™s Watching Me (Uh Oh)."
The band got through that slice of paranoid angst rock quite pleasingly (the group rocks much harder live than on the more mellow and moody album), as well as the next bunch of tunes, including "Let It Go," the unexpectedly sax-happy "Jealou$y" and "W.D.Y.W.F.M.?". "Jealou$y" was particularly enjoyable; musically, one of The Neighbourhoodâ€™s best attributes is the unpredictability of some of their songwriting. Having a sax blare during the chorus certainly qualifies (see also: the cut to the dreamy bridge on "Sweater Weather").
The problems began to reemerge around "Baby Came Home." The Neighbourhood seemed to be struggling to get into a flow, with significant moments of dead air. Rutherford in particular seemed frustrated.
The little audience chats from earlier in the night (including an amusing out loud thought process about why he wasnâ€™t going to attempt a dangerous on-stage jump) disappeared, and on "A Little Death," the lead singer spent much of the song wandering around the stage, occasionally getting back to performing for the crowd.
Things seemed better on "Lurk" (originally meant to be an older selection before Rutherford nixed it seemingly on the fly), especially with assorted movie clips in the background â€“ "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," Disney cartoons, Veruca Salt freaking out in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" â€“ providing an amusing diversion.
However, Rutherford still seemed upset, spending most of "Wires" and "How" meandering around the back of the stage with his back to the crowd and draping his arm disheartenedly on his mic stand multiple times. Whatever the technical problems were, they didnâ€™t seem to be fixed, even though I doubt the crowd could even tell. Other than Rutherfordâ€™s occasionally low vocals, the setlist (while certainly not for those unwilling to briefly hang out with their glum moody emo teenager side for a bit) sounded good, and the bandâ€™s fans were happily eating it up.
Still, by the time The Neighbourhood reached its last song, the band apparently had enough. The group rocked out its other hit "Afraid," which seemed to briefly energize the guys on stage. As soon as it ended, however, Rutherford and company couldnâ€™t seem to get off the stage fast enough. Five minutes after the lights went up and roadies started unplugging mics and wrapping cords, fans still filled about half of the bleachers, waiting around and seemingly trying to reassure themselves that no, theyâ€™re totally coming back on â€¦ right?
Nope. No encore tonight, kids; just a barely hour-long set (if you started the clock from when they rebooted the setlist and replayed "Female Robbery," the concert came in at about merely 45 minutes) where the lead singer spent a notable amount of time performing toward the wrong side of the stage. The fans came for angry, angsty rock music; they likely left feeling more than a touch of anger and angst themselves.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published May 28, 2016
Thanks to a duo of Milwaukee dub reggae enthusiasts, dub music has found a very comfortable spot in the Milwaukee music scene - in particular at the Nomad World Pub, where, in less than a year's time, the two have helped turn Living Dub into a sensation.
Published May 26, 2016
Indeed, the "Saved by the Bell" child star and now Port Washington resident Dustin Diamond was taken back into custody yesterday afternoon by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office, detained on a "probation violation."
Published May 26, 2016
Get ready for an overload of adorable, as the Milwaukee County Zoo introduced its newest baby giraffe, named Zola - a word of African origin meaning "to love" - to the world.
Published May 26, 2016
Milwaukee Film announced that it will host the world premiere of "Milwaukee 53206," a documentary chronicling the lives of those who live in the 53206 zip code, which has the highest rate of incarceration for African American males in the country.
Published May 24, 2016
A UWM graduation video featuring new grads dancing around Milwaukee to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling" has racked up a ton of views - one of which must've been JT himself, as he took to Twitter to congratulate the new graduates.
Published May 22, 2016
According to Greg Mclean, "The Darkness" comes from a true story passed along to him first-hand. Judging by the results, maybe someone was just recalling the plot of "Poltergeist" to him. Or an infinite number of scarier haunted house tales from before.
Published May 18, 2016
Milwaukee native Bay Dariz's plan was to become a star musician, then turn into a movie mogul. The stage star part didn't quite happen, but no bother; he's already jumped to movie producer status with his feature film debut "Welcome to Happiness."
Published May 18, 2016
Save for a visit from a street-corner preacher, a trip to the bus stop rarely qualifies as a religious experience. However, those taking the bus to or from the Cathedral Square stop on the corner of Wells and Jackson might sense a little extra spirit.
Published May 17, 2016
While it was called "a dialogue," Tuesday's hour-long conversation between State Rep. Dale Kooyenga and MTEA executive director Lauren Baker, hosted by Marquette University's Eckstein Hall, sure resembled a debate - an often politely testy one.
Published May 16, 2016
How does Harry Connick Jr. kick back and relax the morning after a Saturday night show at the Riverside Theater? Apparently he cures his custard craving, as he tweeted out that he stopped by Leon's Frozen Custard for a sweet treat - and then some.