There are few things more exciting than a 5 Seconds of Summer gig. The boys from down under have totally nailed the arena rock show bit, combining the essential life lessons from the pop-punk bands that predated them with their obsession with all things '80s rock. It's no wonder Mötley Crüe are fans of the guys!
Monday night in Santa Monica, California, 5SOS took the stage at a deserted airplane hangar in true rock 'n' roll fashion. Shows like these happen every once in a while, kids directed to a mostly undisclosed locale to see their favorite band. Every year Vevo throws one in honor of those groups who've become Vevo Certified. This year, Luke, Calum, Michael and Ashton were given the honor after their 2014 summer smash, "She Looks So Perfect," scored 100 million views. As of today, it's near 150 million.
Even after applying and scoring free tickets to the 2,000 capacity room, fans waited for hours outside in the sweltering heat. The idea of this intimacy fueled excitement—would this be the moment they'd finally meet the boys?
Upon entry, it became evident that this mostly vacant space was completely transformed for 5SOS. Billboards decorated the outside, and the girls lined up below them. When the doors opened, it was on. The kids ran to the front to park themselves for hours, unaware of or unperturbed by their sweaty surroundings. If they could only get close to their heroes in this condition, they were willing to make the sacrifice.
There was no opening act. We were greeted by a Vevo employee who doubled as a hype-man. Every five minutes, like clockwork, he'd appear onstage with a few questions like, "How many times have you seen 5SOS before?" exciting the crowd before politely, repetitively asking folks to refrain from taking photos or videos. It was like putting kryptonite directly in the hands of Superman.
When the boys did take the stage, the arena erupted; 2,000 girls have the screaming power of 10,000 men. 5 Seconds of Summer kicked off the way they do all their arena shows, a countdown going straight into "End Up Here," the best non-single on their 2014 debut. Calum Hood rocked a long-sleeve shirt under a short-sleeve one, channeling an iconic '90s Blink-182 look. They played a full set, eventually inviting a fan up to play "Rejects"—it's becoming their calling card, but also an ode to Green Day.
What 5 Seconds of Summer excel at is something many bands before them have tried and failed to accomplish. It's creating a specific space in rock music that's been missing for years, one that sort of never existed. It's a combination of the diehard fandom of boy bands (a la One Direction,) the force of nature that is the love of young women and the energy of pop-punk (think All Time Low). It's a fine line to flirt with, and 5SOS have effectively demolished it.
Here, in the dark corner of the hangar, we all felt it. And it felt good.