Hanging out with The Neighbourhood is as close to being at a clandestine mafia meeting as you can get in the realm of rock’n’roll. They dominate an Italian speakeasy in West Hollywood like a squad who mean serious business on a weekday afternoon. Ringleader Jesse Rutherford wolfs down a spaghetti carbonara, while the others send up their favorite local sandwich joint that was mysteriously closed this morning. Rutherford brought this pack of music nerds together out of Newbury Park, California in 2011 and with the help of breakout song “Sweater Weather” they became viral sensations. Today Rutherford looks like the kind of emo punk character that could have rolled out of an MTV TRL broadcast in 1999, but his mind is somewhere in 2099. He’s at the epicenter of this motley crew, which is completed by guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Mikey Margott and drummer Brandon Alexander Fried, who strolls in late with an update on the sandwich joint.
Central Hollywood and East Hollywood is The Neighbourhood’s domain. They don’t go to Downtown right now, nor do they hang out in Beverly Hills. “Unless we’re going shopping on Rodeo,” offers Rutherford, only half-joking from behind a pair of women’s pink Chanel shades. The speakeasy suits them to a tee. Decked out in chequered red and white tablecloths, with an air of old Hollywood, it’s straight-up rock’n’roll, complimenting their leather jackets, tattoos, and various piercings. “It’s moody,” offers Abels.