On one of the hottest days of the year thus far 5 Seconds of Summer was set to play Darien Lake to thousands of their adoring fans with support from Hey Violet and One Ok Rock.
Hey Violet took to the stage first and from the very beginning I couldn’t help but be reminded of a high school garage band. With screechy vocals and overpowering instrumentals the entire set was lackluster. Yet I wouldn’t write them off just yet, maybe with a few more years under their belts and a more developed sound they could find a combination that works. You could say they are still finding their footing and need time before they can enter the race but there’s potential there somewhere.
The next band to hit the stage was One Ok Rock and from their first song they somehow seemed to own the stage as if they were the headliners. You could tell that they are a true pop punk band, from their superb energy, heavy instrumentals, and even the rare hardcore scream thrown in they embodied what it means to be punk. Their energy was infectious and they got a fair bit of the girls in the crowd up on their feet dancing, singing and head banging along.
Finally the lights dimmed, the crowd jumped from their seats, and the screams of thousands of teenage girls filled the venue. The crowd was so painfully loud that you could literally feel their screams vibrating through your every bone. 5SOS really should put a disclaimer of their tickets stating that earplugs are highly recommended to avoid permanent hearing loss. With all of this teenage energy mounting expectations were set high for the energy that the boys of 5SOS would bring to the stage. Yet personally I was utterly let down. They opened up with their latest hit “Hey Everybody” but they did not seem to be into it at all. They were mindlessly strumming away on guitars and singing into mics with little to no passion to be found. For the first few songs their energy was subpar at best. However the girls in the crowd who were blinded by sheer admiration didn’t seem to notice that the boys on stage were just going through the motions. Although as the show progressed the boys did seem to find plenty more energy. Anyones best guess is that the energy was drawn from the legion of females screaming their little hearts out in the crowd. Without fail the crowd sang, screamed, and cried along to every single song in utter dedication that only boy bands can bring out of teenage girls.
Throughout the set I searched for the slightest signs of punk from the self proclaimed “pop punk” band and was hard pressed to find any besides some lip rings and the occasional hair flip. You can’t deny the fact that the boys of 5SOS have an immense amount of talent but unfortunately it seems that they have fell into what I call the boy band trap. Pumping out pop songs for radio play and album sales instead of going a more difficult yet authentic way and producing genuine music. Their songs produce a certain type of “I’ve heard this all before” sound that comes with radio pop. Nevertheless it is undeniable that music is always evolving and bands are always changing their style so maybe in the years to come we will see 5SOS shift more towards punk and less towards pop. If they don’t they may just find themselves as a forgotten about boy band who have already had their five seconds of fame.
One thing you can’t deny though is that when you put four dashing young men into a band and crank out catchy pop songs you are bound to collect an army of adoring fans. So although their music may feel unauthentic to anyone over the age of 16 it sure did not seem that way to the dedicated fans in the crowd. The first indication was the volume level that the crowd reached, a level that according to all scientific calculations should be impossible in an outdoor venue. The second hint was everywhere you turned there was someone in a different state of emotional distress with tears running down their face as they sang along to every word. The last bit of evidence was when thousands of girls whipped out handwritten signs on plain sheets of paper professing their deepest confessions. Some examples would be “Im trash for bands” “I nap too much” and “You saved my life”. If anything the emotional dedication that the boys of 5SOS get from their fans is truly something worth remembering.
All in all the entire night was a fangirls wildest dream packed full of catchy pop songs and cute boys jumping around on a stage. Yet while their music is no deeper than a pothole you hit on the highway it inspires millions of teenagers all of the entire world and what more could a boy band want?