I’m not going to kid myself, or you, dear reader, I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and a chase, ask anyone of my exes (smirk emoticon). Anticipation, determination, and exertion, all equal hard work. After hard work comes the reward, pure satisfaction. Going to see The Neighbourhood and Bad Suns was my reward, a gift to myself for accomplishing schoolwork, housework, work-work, and it was something I could finally look forward to after I finished all my grown up tasks. That’s the beauty of concerts, they can be our reward; throw in a little whiskey, some weed, and a cute girl to make out with, and I’ll write papers and clean my floors as long as you want me to.
Catching a show on a Wednesday night at House of Blues can be a challenging situation. There always tend to be traffic, construction, and a slew of other difficulties. One of the most prevalent and persevering problems us passionate show goers press against is… pedestrians. They’re everywhere! Majority of the time you have to bob and weave between the throngs of tourists that meander along the brightly lit walkways. When I was younger, my big brother and I would actually make a game out of this dilemma. Whichever one of us could make it to the car fastest, while zigzagging through people and simultaneously making car noises, would be the winner. My internal voice the other night screamed, “Get the fuck out of my way! I’m on a mission!”, but I still made speeding car noises. On Wednesday September 23rd, that strong, determined, and excited voice went from internal to external as I raced to see the Neighbourhood and Bad Suns live!
My friends and family taught me the importance of hard work. As I ran between what seemed like a thousand people on that night, I thought about the Shows I Go To family and all the hard work and pure heart each and everyone one of us puts into our craft for you. In no way is this relationship one sided, I understand the work all of you put in as well, reading our stories, liking our photos, and entering contests… all of You that read and support Shows I Go To are supporting Us in following our dreams. Thank you.
With this thought still mulling in my mind, I reached the doors of House of Blues. I smoked down to the filter the cigarette I was holding–sprinting and smoking is not a smart idea by the way–and when my fingertips became slightly warm I tossed the butt into a garbage can and fled the pathway before my stream of smoke could catch up to me. I entered just as Bad Suns began “Salt” and the four-piece band was in perfect sync.
Lead singer, Christo Bowman, was crooning over the microphone as his loose fitting, low cut red shirt lite up against the yellow, purple, and blue beach backdrop. I rushed to find Mitch, Adam, and Benji, while I hoped that I didn’t miss a large majority of Bad Suns set. When I finally reached my group, I unfortunately found out I did, and there was to be no encore, thank the music gods I have seen them before.
My battle buddies and I were now joined together as we stared head on into a sea of beautiful women. Our bartender for the evening was Lala, cuter than a button and more attentive than a wet nurse. With her bright blonde hair and ocean deep blue eyes, she asked ever so calmly, in a sweet and simple voice for our drink orders. We replied eagerly and tried our damnedest to convince her that whiskey shots during her work shift would be a great idea. Not her time for reward however, her hard work currently hovered over her head. The four of us stood there for a while and sipped our beers, after a celebratory shot of Fireball, we began individually taking in the scene.
Adam and I began talking; trying our best to figure out how many shows we have worked together, and a thought grew in my mind. His pictures present a challenge, one I am more than willing to accept, how can I portray through pose the pictures he captures? I discovered that Adam’s photos add layers to my words and vise-versa. The framing, coloring, and contrast in his work allows my words to become more exposed. My words are not alone and he sees as I see; only we use different mediums.
Around this point in the evening the Neighbourhood began to take the stage. The lead vocalist, Jesse Rutherford, walked onstage with arms raised and feet covered by cosmic leopard print sneakers. The five-piece band opened with “Prey” and afterwards it was a bit difficult to hear Rutherford’s stage banter like, “You all right? Let’s go!” The Neighbourhood made a quick shift to “W.D.Y.W.F.M.?” and Rutherford sat on the edge of the stage with a black Dracula cape spread across his back. The shadows it created, from the black and white visuals with a large plane, made it seem like Rutherford was soaring over the crowd. Ready to devour everyone into his darkness. The words “Maybe she’s right, maybe I’m wrong” began flashing like a subliminal message behind the band. We were up in the Loge at this point and Benji pointed out an interesting band aesthetic, “They have a boy band vibe, but I just like their music.”
Rutherford began rocking the microphone stand back and forth as he blew into it. A slow beat with hollow and drained vocals began and “Wires” ran through House of Blues. Rutherford began messing with the mic again, this time leaning his device towards the devout crowd. The signature black and white color themed background showed images of palm trees that moved in beat with the drums. The landscape transitioned to waves and they rippled with the electrifying guitar chords.
The Neighbourhood is a group of minimal musicians who apply only what they need, with an abundance of style. Rutherford seems to saunter around the stage and he swings and sways to the energy of the songs. During “Afraid” the band threw out stickers, with what on them I have no idea, and the visuals resembled a blackwork tattoo of an old 1961 Lincoln Continental. The perfect marriage of old school style and new concepts, as the Neighbourhood is known to do.
During the latter part of their set the band seemed to lose momentum. The chemistry between each of the five members doesn’t appear to be there. Mitch even commented on this energy, “It’s almost as though they don’t feel each other, in terms of personality.” I felt the exact same way, I couldn’t see all five of them hanging out a bar together, sharing stories and sipping drinks. During this lull in the set I zoned out on the drummer, and only after I heard a slew of screams from the audience did I realize, Rutherford was on guitar. It was an odd transition, I wasn’t sure if it was an encore or something else. Rutherford all alone on stage asked us, “Orlando, you want to switch it up a bit?” and he began a solo rendition of “Lurk”. This change seemed weird-as-fuck but it actually turned into the highlight of my evening, Jesse Rutherford’s “solo” work.
Rutherford slid into “Jealou$y” and during the horn section the silhouette of a jazz musician appeared behind him. With an electronic tone Rutherford proclaimed to the crowd, “Autoooooootuneeee.” and Adam and I completely lost it laughing. During “Dangerous” the slow and sexy bass beat caused me to swag out in my all-black outfit. Beer in hand, massive crowd below me, I immediately began throwing my hands up and dancing. I felt like a fucking rap star! This feeling lasted through “When I Get Back” but it was momentarily paused by laughter, due to the Grand Theft Auto visuals that was being displayed. Blame it on the beer, whiskey, or weed but as YG says in “When I Get Back”, “Killing brain cells, killing time. When I finally get back I’ll be feeling fine.”, I realized this “encore” is all from the Neighbourhood mixtape #000000 & #FFFFFF. The mystery was solved and the burning question that stoked in the back of my mind was now submersed. A different kind of fire engulfed me when Rutherford started with “#icanteven,” hands up again, bag of bones in a thick purple smoke. Swag searing through a swell of scintillating and sexy shapes.
The rest of the band came back for ‘Warm” but it was their cover of Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” that got them all back into the flow. A series of Rorschach inkblots began to transition on the backdrop and the crowd was becoming even more fluid. The Neighbourhood’s biggest radio hit to date “Sweater Weather” was of course a crowd favorite but there was far more intricacy and hard work in Rutherford’s solo mixtape session. After a quick command from Rutherford, “All right, let’s blow this thing up!”, the Neighbourhood closed the concert with “R.I.P. 2 My Youth.”
I left House of Blues that night still musing over the concept of hard work. The Neighbourhood didn’t just end up on stage, they didn’t walk into a career in music, they fought, hard. Each and everyday they work their asses off to follow their passion. We at Shows I Go To do the same, and we want you to follow your passion. It won’t be easy, simple, or come to you without great effort, but it’s 100% worth it. Our pay off is here, in these words and images that you see on this site. Do hard work in a field you frenzy over and tell us about it at the next show. 🙂
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