The Neighborhood has some good neighbors.
The Norman four-piece broke up a couple years ago, easing to a halt after the release of its excellent debut album, “Our Voices Choked with Fireworks.” It wasn’t apparent whether the group would ever play again, as members got busy with other projects, moved to far-off places and got married.
Enter Andy Nunez (Starlight Mints, Opolis) and Trent Bell (Chainsaw Kittens, Bell Labs). It’s at their encouragement that the indie-rockin’ outfit will reconstitute and headline Thursday night’s Norman Music Festival offerings at Opolis.
“Andy and Trent have always been big fans of our music, and they asked us to do it,” said Philip Rice, lead singer and guitarist. “That’s pretty much it.”
Naw, there’s gotta be more to it.
And there is. Drummer Matt Duckworth was at Bell Labs, making a record with another band, when Bell had been asked to curate the stage for the festival.
“We started throwing around ideas of who could play, and I think it was Trent’s idea to do a reunion,” Duckworth said. And since bassist Eric Mai was going to be in town, “why not do a show?”
Apparently, “playing hard to get” is not a part of their arsenal.
It helps that all the personnel will be in one place. Mai will be visiting from his home in California, and Duckworth will be in town with his current band, Stardeath and the White Dwarfs, which plays Friday at Opolis. Rice and Blake Studdard (keys, guitar) have been in Norman all along.
The band promises not only tunes from “Fireworks,” but unreleased material that made several appearances in the few shows before their break. While this will be the first time anyone has heard Neighborhood songs live recently (much less fresh ones), it may not be years before new noise comes from the group’s camp.
“As we’ve gotten together and practiced these songs, we realized there’s a good dozen that we’ve never recorded. And we love the songs,” Duckworth said. “We might get together and do some more recording. We might do some shows, maybe not.”
Added Rice, “I would not be surprised if there are more Neighborhood shows.”
The band is focused on making its wee-small-hours reunion at NMF a top-notch gig for fans old and new. And however the future goes, Duckworth said, it’s gonna be a good time.
“It’s a good excuse to get together with old friends,” he said.