Words: Heather McAleavy
Australian pop-rock collective 5 Seconds of Summer have returned to the UK to celebrate the release of their new album Youngblood, which has already been certified Gold. Their first tours here were in support of One Direction five years ago, and they have since built themselves up to be one of the most notorious groups in recent years. Now they stand with three number one albums under their belts and a world-wide fanbase who have made sure every tour is a sell-out.
Joining them on this string of eight UK dates are emerging indie-pop three-piece lovelytheband. Despite this being their first time performing on this side of the Atlantic, the LA collective held a high level of confidence, openly discussing everything from mental health to the dedication many fans showed by queuing in the cold since 8am. The way they held the audience’s attention throughout their six-song set was inspiring for such a small support act, with a strategic cover of The Killer’s infamous ‘Mr Brightside’ to really get the crowd moving. They ended the set with their most notable singles ‘These Are My Friends’ and ‘Broken’; both of which welcomed huge singalongs despite their completely contrasting tones.
5 Seconds of Summer exploded onto the stage with the electrifying ‘Babylon’, Youngblood’s closing track. The booming of the heavy bassline made it feel like all the excited tension held by everyone in the room was simultaneously released; the sound of screaming muting Calum Hood’s (bass/vocals) opening verse. This sprightly pace remained as they explored Youngblood’s off-beat bops ‘Talk Fast’ and ‘Moving Along’, before dipping into lead singles ‘She’s Kinda Hot’ and ‘Waste The Night’, taken from their 2015 album Sounds Good Feels Good.
Every track was met with adoration, particularly for minor tracks ‘Ghost of You’ followed by ‘Amnesia’, ‘The Only Reason’, ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘Why Won’t You Love Me’ during a sombre spike in the setlist. These melancholy ballads of love and heartache silenced the crowd’s screams and in turn were replaced with emotion-fuelled singalongs. All four vocalists meticulously captured the essence of each song and hit every person in the sold out 3,500-capacity venue. The latter track pulled the energy right back up however as Ashton Irwin (drums/vocals) ensured full force went into every beat during the breakdown.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a gig in Manchester if there wasn’t some reference to Oasis. A short rendition of ‘Champagne Supernova’ echoed around the room while not a single arm was left unraised.
It was clear from the average age of the room and their level of dedication for the band that the majority of the audience had been there since the early 1D-support days and practically grew up alongside them. Although 5SOS have gone from performing in front of these same fans (as well as many other fresh faces) in grass-root venues to arenas over the years, they’ve mastered the ability to make even the biggest shows feel as intimate as they were five years ago.