Luke Hemmings asked a rhetorical question during 5 Seconds of Summer’s concert Saturday night at the Sprint Center: “Do you guys like to scream?”
More than 10,000 girls and young women tested the limits of their lungs and vocal cords as they loudly professed their adoration for the Australian quartet throughout its one hour, 45-minute performance. The group members attempted to justify the affection of their fans by striking glamorous poses that were projected on faux-distressed video screens as they played an affable version of pop-punk.
Overseen by the same management company that guides the career of teen idols One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer doesn’t fit into the boy-band mold. Its members play their own instruments and write their own songs. While the quartet’s audience consists largely of female junior high and high school students, 5 Seconds of Summer plays melodic rock in the vein of Green Day.
The group tours relentlessly. Ash Irwin, 22, the drummer and eldest member, played the role of historian Saturday by noting that “including support tours, this is our fourth year in a row in this arena.”
The steady work has paid off. The members of the quartet took turns singing appealing lead vocals and struck the appropriate balance between sloppy and mechanical musicianship. Renditions of the beat-heavy “Girls Talk Boys” and the impish “Good Girls” were stellar. Yet too many of the band’s 20 songs were undistinguished.
The two opening acts, Hey Violet and Roy English, possess superior material. Hey Violet channeled vintage Blondie during the excellent “Brand New Moves” and evoked the cleverness of Weezer on a profane putdown of self-absorbed men. Their fellow Los Angeles-based artist Roy English presented sophisticated pop compositions including “Cool.” While plenty of people sang along with those songs, they reserved their ear-piercing shrieks for 5 Seconds of Summer.
The definitive portion of 5 Seconds of Summer’s outing occurred after the guitar-oriented jam “Castaway” had ended and before the brooding “Jet Black Heart” began. Michael Clifford stood motionless in a spotlight for more than two minutes. The mania of screaming fans increased with each passing moment.
The fact that fans loved 5 Seconds of Summer most when it wasn’t playing music is disconcerting. The rapturous outburst that accompanied Clifford’s caper further demonstrated that the true stars of Saturday’s show were the wildly energetic members of the audience.
Bill Brownlee: @happyinbag
Carry On; Hey Everybody!; Money; Voodoo Doll; Don’t Stop; Disconnected; Long Way Home; Outer Space; Waste the Night; Vapor; Amnesia; Castaway; Jet Black Heart; End Up Here; Good Girls; Girls Talk Boys; Permanent Vacation; What I Like About You; She’s Kinda Hot; She Looks So Perfect.