9 times out of 10, support bands have a tough night. Crowds often hang at the bar, if they’ve even arrived at the venue at all, and either way, people are usually not paying much attention to them. Therefore, how refreshing it must be for Hunny, tonight’s openers, to arrive on stage at 8pm to find Metropolis PACKED OUT, to the point that this reviewer can’t even get off the staircase halfway along the floor section. Hunny are remarkably well received, with the crowd roaring their approval for even the most innocuous of comments (“we have an EP out tomorrow!” HOORAY!!!). Vocally sounding like Taking Back Sunday, visually looking like MGMT or Tame Impala, their brand of radio-friendly dance-indie got everyone amped for the evening ahead.
Next up are Bad Suns, who sound remarkably similar and continue the dance-indie theme throughout their set, although under much darker mood lighting (good luck to the photographers trying to snap them…) and with much more distinctive bass lines. Again, the heaving crowd laps it up, and by the time the familiar intro to Cardiac Arrest rings out (familiar if you listen to the alternative channels on Sirius, at least), you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the main event for all the singing that can be heard.
That distinction though, is reserved for The Neighbourhood. They announce their arrival on stage with a loud wave of white noise that cuts through the house music and scares everyone out of their skin, though the surprise is soon replaced with rapturous applause and screams from everyone not possessing a Y-chromosome. Clad entirely in black and white, the smoke-filled stage is set for The Neighbourhood’s trademark brand of moody, hip hop influenced alternative, a stark contrast to the support bands that came beforehand. The set is understandably heavily weighted towards upcoming sophomore album Wiped Out! (due out at the end of the month), and new songs are unsurprisingly well received. “We’d like to play a new song,” so often the ultimate buzz-kill of any show, is repeatedly met with roars of approval, and indeed many of those around me seem to know the words already, as well as some who clearly don’t, but don’t want to be outdone and fake it (imagine a badly dubbed Kung Fu movie from the 80’s, and you can imagine how it looks). Musically, the band sound flawless, and repeatedly bring to mind a more instrumental version of The Weeknd. Songs from debut album I Love You are especially well received; the crowd’s response to Afraid is reminiscent of a rap battle from 8 Mile, with a sea of bouncing hands (and camera phones) matching every beat. The singalong that accompanies Female Robbery and Sweater Weather also threaten to blow the roof off the place. New single R.I.P. To My Youth bring the show to a close, and every last ounce of singing energy is expended from this euphoric crowd.
Any negative points? Well, nothing screams “alternative” less than $35 T-shirts and $70 hoodies at the merch table, and the sky-high oestrogen levels grate at times; how much screaming can one guy be expected to take?! During Wiped Out!, two bras are thrown on stage, and this kinda makes you wonder if this spontaneously became a Tom Jones concert. The fact that frontman Jesse performs shirtless for most of the set probably didn’t do much to deter such behaviour. He’d probably tell you he was going for the Anthony Kiedis look, but it came off a little more Backstreet Boy than anything else.
Minor gripes aside though, it was all in all a very polished performance, and as the crowd filters out of Metropolis to the Jurassic Park theme song after the 70-minute set, you know that the ever-expanding Montreal chapter of The Neighbourhood’s fan base just got a little bigger.
Let It Go
Baby Came Home
R.I.P 2 My Youth
Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Jason Hughes