Here’s a question for you: what happens when you send a pop music enthusiast who considers Girls Aloud’s ‘Biology’ to be one of the greatest songs of all time to review a pop-punk group that he’s often dismissed as rather generic and firmly in the category of ‘not for me’, to put it politely? Well, much in the means of any scientific experiment (which is what I’ve decided this was – or that every other music journalist within a hundred mile radius of Bristol was sick) the results were a mixture of the expected and the unexpected.
The first big shock coming in that I ended up recognising some of the songs played. Weightless and Lost In Stereo, to be more precise, with both having been a stable on the Radio 1 playlist over the last few years. Weightless in particular is a song that I’m rather glad I’ve rediscovered – it’s by no means pop-punk, but it’s a very good song nevertheless. The rest of the set list was a mixture of the not-quite-for-me to the seriously-not-for-me, but there were some surprising gems. This is perhaps due to how much they stuck out in an energetic set, but the slower moments tended to work better if only for how they allowed the other band members to have their moments to shine, therefore allowing more of the band’s actual talent to show.
I can’t deny that there are some real issues here. The lyrics to I Feel Like Dancin’ are really the type of thing that you could hear from dozens of other bands – I can’t help but feel that with the amount of talent this band have at their disposal they could have at least tried to think of a few more original lyrics than ‘I’m in the groove, I’ll bust a move, just try and stop me’. I’ve always thought that the fanbase for bands like All Time Low and You Me At Six must consist mostly of teenagers who are somewhat stuck in terms of where their music taste is taking them – they’re outgrowing the pop music they’ve grown up with and want to move on to a slightly rockier sound, and will briefly consider bands like these to be the answer before eventually moving on to something else.
I’ll admit that some of the songs might not be my cup of tea, but the band’s stage presence is undeniably the actual highlight of the whole affair. The audience interaction has its fair share of toilet humour at times, but nothing too over the top to put off a crowd that consists mainly of screaming teenagers and dragged-along parents. They work well with the venue too – Bristol’s O2 Academy allows the alarming teenage plethora to act like screaming banshees at the front, whilst the parents drink heavily near the bar at the back.
All in all, whilst I probably won’t be rushing back next time they’re in town, I’ll give them their dues in that they do a very good job of putting on a show and keeping their fans entertained. I can see why people like their songs – they’re catchy slices of modern not-quite-pop-punk songs and they do work well in a live environment. Now, where’s my Girls Aloud album?