Keely Chisholm ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Hartford, Connecticut’s Xfinity Theatre was the place to be on September 5, 2015, as Australian pop punk band 5 Seconds of Summer took the stage.
Los Angeles-based rock group Hey Violet opened the show with a half hour set, full of high energy, feel-good rock. The lyrics were catchy, easy to sing and scream along to, and though not everyone in the audience knew the words, the crowd jumped along. With females on drums, bass, vocals, keyboards, and guitar, their set and talent served as a reminder that girls can rock, too.
5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) had the crowd laughing before they even walked onstage. “The Final Countdown” blasted through the amphitheater speakers just minutes before the lights went out, and word had spread through the crowd that the band would come on after this song finished playing.
Drummer Ashton Irwin was the first one onstage, rising out of the floor to open the show with a drum solo, working up the audience before the remaining members, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, and Luke Hemmings walked onstage amid deafening screams.
They may be first-time headliners, but they are no strangers to playing to packed venues and enthusiastic crowds. After spending two years opening for boy band One Direction, 5SOS were more than ready to take on their own tour, and they proved that in Hartford. They bring to the stage an energy that only guys of 19 and 21 can: a youthful bounce and intensity that comes from wanting to be heard, along with the desire for everything to work out in the end.
Their stage presence is an endearing combination of a seasoned rock band and teenagers messing around in a garage: loose and relaxed, but utterly passionate. They had their serious moments, including when they thanked the crowd for coming out to support them. 5SOS had their silly moments, too, teasing each other by playing their instruments over another member who was trying to speak. The fans loved every minute of it.
The band drew on material new and old for the set list, playing most of their first album while incorporating original songs like “Out Of My Limit,” from when they were only a YouTube presence, and previewing songs from their upcoming sophomore album, set to be released in October. The band even threw in two covers: The Romantics’ “What I Like About You,” and Green Day’s “American Idiot.” From older favorites like “She Looks So Perfect,” and “Don’t Stop,” to the newer releases, “Jet Black Heart” and “Permanent Vacation,” the crowd knew every word and sang, danced, clapped, and screamed along.
Without being so bold as to say 5SOS is the new wave of pop punk, the band is certainly bringing the genre to a new audience. They’re still a little too pop and a little too clean, but they’re on their way. With lyrical messages like “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene / We’re alright though,” and “When you’ve got bigger plans that no one else understands / You’ve got a shot,” 5SOS fans feel a small sample of what Green Day fans must have felt with the release of American Idiot: the feeling that someone understands, and is mirroring the sentiments inside their heads.
The Hartford concert signaled the near end of a four-month world tour for 5 Seconds of Summer. The final show was Sunday, September 13, in West Palm Beach, Florida.