California quintet the Neighbourhood returned to Austin on Tuesday to play at Stubb’s, in support of their latest album, 2015’s “Wiped Out!” Combining R&B and alternative rock, the band exuded a classic California energy, serving as the perfect kickoff for summer. Unfortunately, with the threat of an oncoming thunderstorm looming on the horizon, it was painfully obvious that the band rushed through their 18-song set.
By Tess Cagle
The Neighbourhood took the stage roughly 15 minutes early, diving straight into “Ferrari,” their signature opener. They followed that with “Greetings from California,” “Prey” and “Jealou$y.” During the next song, “Baby Came Home,” frontman Jesse Rutherford showed off his tambourine playing skills, swaying back and forth with the crowd and wandering across the stage between guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, and bassist Mikey Margott.
One of the most notable aspects of the band’s set was the way the members interacted with one another. They played as a cohesive unit, constantly turning to one another to keep knowing eye contact and flash goofy smiles. Rutherford took to the back of the stage for the end of “Baby Came Home,” beating the drums alongside skinsman Brandon Fried.
The crowd was predictably excited when the band jumped into “Female Robbery,” the first track off their self-released 2012 EP, “I’m Sorry…” . After finishing the song, Rutherford looked out at the crowd and endearingly shouted, “Thank you so much for coming. It still amazes me that people show up to our shows."
Then again, it should come as no surprise when considering the frontman’s magnetic stage presence. As the band played the title track off their newest album, Rutherford spun in circles around the stage until he slammed to the ground mid-song. When he popped back up, the crowd was bathed in white light emanating from the stage. It made Rutherford’s dancing all the more hypnotic — a hypnotism only broken by the incredibly loud couple fighting within earshot.
Throughout the entire set, the Neighbourhood did an impressive job maintaining their signature black and white aesthetic. Because of the band’s grayscale attire and the white lights illuminating the stage, it was hard to remember that this show — and the rest of real life in Stubb’s — was actually in color. But as Rutherford leaned down into the audience during “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” and screamed, “Are you listening?” the deafening squeals restored the vibrancy.
The highlight of the show was near the end, as the band transitioned from “Warm” to “Sweater Weather.” The decision to stack those two songs was already brilliant — it’s hard not to feel something as Rutherford sings “You’re so warm” and slowly eases into “It’s so cold.” He made the transition in almost dead silence on Tuesday night, as the entire venue was filled with a cool breeze from the oncoming storm.
It was a chilling way to end the evening — literally.