by MIKE CHAIKEN
There is a simple word that describes 5 Seconds of Summer’s performance at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 29.
5SOS offered up the American leg of its Meet Your There Tour to Connecticut, and even before the doors opened, it was clear the fans were ecstatic about getting the chance to watch the Aussie foursome’s tour debut.
And 5SOS didn’t disappoint the crowd offering up plenty of high energy, smiles, and tons of catchy tunes—most of which the predominantly female audience could sing by rote as if they had recorded the songs themselves.
The evening was filled with fans having a good time. They were dancing on the general admission open floor, performing choreographed arm waves, and pulling out construction paper red hearts to hold over their cellphone flashlights to give the auditorium a pink glow during one 5 Seconds of Summer moment.
The fans clearly dominated the thoughts of 5SOS. From the moment the members — Luke Hemmings
Calum Hood, and Michael Clifford stepped out into the arena, they stood at the edge of stage as close to the audience as they could. There was no migrating to the back of the stage to gaze at their navels while they plucked their guitars and basses. Even Ashton Irwin sat high in his drum kit so the entire arena could get a glimpse of him pounding out the insistent 5SOS beats.
And the fans were clearly ecstatic at having a chance to watch their favorite members in close proximity nearly the entire night. (Luke did take a side trip to house left a couple of times to pound the keyboard.) All that said, 5SOS is in a definite transition in concert as their sound evolves in its recordings.
Initially, the group had a pop-punk flair with clear Green Day influences. There is now a more pop feel to the music with hits such as the rousing “Youngblood” (from the same-titled album) and the ear worm “Want You Back.”
The change is no surprise, however. Their hit “Amnesia” –from its debut album– gave an indication that the band had other than alternative rock ambitions.
For those with an affinity for rock and roll history, 5SOS’s debut EP offers up a musical metaphor for the evolution of their sound. On that EP, they performed a cover of an old 1980s song, “What I Like About You” by a power pop band called The Romantics. The group was one of those acts who bridged the gap from old school punk to what became 1980s new wave– with its hooks and melodies. A few albums later the same group had a much funkier, pop hit called, “Talking in Your Sleep,” which sold oodles and oodles for the four-piece.
5SOS is following a similar template.
But whether offering up bratty pop-punk or catchy love songs, the fans seemed geared to go to follow along. And the group showed there is still a 5SOS thread between “She Looks So Perfect” and “Youngblood.”
As the band begins to take more chances with its style, it will be interesting to see where their career takes them.
Opening up for 5 Seconds of Summer was an all-female band from Utah, The Aces. Taking another page from rock and roll history, the group clearly offers a nod to the all girl groups from the 1980s such as The Go-Go’s and The Bangles. A couple of musical lines definitely harkened back to some of those groups’ tunes.
However, the group isn’t about being girly-girl. So the most appropriate reference—and reach for your Wikipedia again—is The Runaways. The Runaways proved to the world that rock and roll isn’t about being a boy or a girl—rock and roll simply rocks. And it can be catchy as heck, no matter the gender.
In some ways, The Aces style is a musical kin of 5SOS with their own catchy melodies, hard rocking guitars, and lots of energy. Like 5SOS, the band, which released its first full length album “When My Heart Goes Volcanic” in April, looks to have an interesting future.
I give the 5 Seconds of Summer show at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 30 3 ½ out of 4 stars.