Monday night, avid Neighbourhood fans were given a real treat to see Jesse Rutherford on his first solo tour at the Bluebird Theatre. Earlier this year when Rutherford announced his solo tour, many fans assumed this would mean the demise of the band entirely. As a band who has experienced huge success over the years, this seemed a little worrisome. Fortunately for fans like me, the band is headed on the road again for their own tour and jamming at various music festivals this summer. Until then though, Rutherford’s solo tour is a special treat. Fans on Monday got to hear the grooves from his solo albums “&” and “Garageb&”. Rutherford has accumulated a substantial and loyal fan-base over the years and since it has been a little over a year since The Neighbourhood played a show in Denver, everyone at the Bluebird this week was hyped to see him take that stage. We even got a sprinkle of The Neighbourhood when he performed “#icanteven”.
Genre-blending is characteristic of The Neighbourhood’s music, and also of Rutherford’s own solo sound as well. He combines hip-hop, edgy pop undertones mixed with atmospheric beats, and a sultry voice. Monday’s show was comprised of both slow tunes and funky beats we could dance to. This show was different than the others I’ve seen involving Rutherford; a dichotomy which offered a new way to see him in his element. Same man, same voice, yet he offered a different mood. The beauty of the Bluebird too is the absence of any barricade separating the artist(s) from the audience, creating a true concert intimacy. This offered the opportunity for an energetic interaction, whether it was Rutherford shaking hands with concert-goers or some of the crowd feeling personally serenaded. The set embodied both a dance party and chill vibes all in one.
A strong stage presence and audience participation encouragement is essential from any lead singer and for Rutherford, this mean singing “Rock & Roll DJ” together. Rutherford always manages to show how much fun he is having and graces the stage with a necessary character and captivating charisma. He never takes a stationary approach to any of his performances; he moves around constantly with a rhythm concert-goers can not deny. Looking around the room, everyone knew the lyrics, snapped their fingers, and continued to dance. Between songs, girls were in the crowd shouting “Daddy!” and “I love you!”. You could say Rutherford is popular with the Denver ladies.
Having attended past Neighbourhood shows in Denver, Monday’s show not only felt more intimate; it also felt minimalistic compared to the rest. It had a raw quality, both in regard to Rutherford’s attire and the overall ambience. Over the years, the frontman is always changing his look, whether with his hair color, his choice in leather jackets versus fur jackets, or his affinity for skinny jeans. On Monday he sported a simple white t-shirt and blue Dickies pants; his set was made up of only him and his DJ and a short collaboration with his opener, Goody Grace.
A major highlight from this Denver show was Rutherford sitting down in front of the microphone without his DJ, just him and his acoustic guitar, singing to his fans. Some people would have considered this tour a risk, but with great risk, comes great reward. This solo tour gave Rutherford the opportunity to spread his wings in an avenue of individual sound. This was his show and we were all here for it. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Jesse and The Neighbourhood.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.