Young Aussie pop rockers … Five Seconds Of Summer are, from left, Luke Hemmings, Ashton Irwin, Calum Hood and Michael Clifford. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
Five Seconds of Summer
Enmore Theatre, April 30
Poor Calum’s mum.
From where we were sitting at Wednesday night’s Five Seconds of Summer show, a few rows over from the band’s families, Mrs Hood seemed like a lovely woman, and the kind of lady you would hope could come to her son’s big night playing a sold-out gig at the Enmore and enjoy the evening undisturbed. Alas, it was not to be.
Tonight we have to prove to our parents why it’s worthwhile that we dropped out of school
Almost as soon as she plonked herself in her front-row balcony seat, whispers – somehow heard above the general shrieking – circulated that Calum’s mum was in the house and a line-up of girls looking for a photograph (and perhaps a bit of pre-marital parental approval) began to form around her.
Fans queue outside the Enmore Theatre before a show by Australian boy band Five Seconds Of Summer. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
She smiled and posed dutifully, but I began to wonder with concern: are Mrs Hood’s days of getting through Kingsford Smith unaccosted over?
So yes, even the 5SOS mums are famous. And yes, 5SOS is what you should call the band if you’re a fan.
And when you chant out loud with a room full of girls before a concert, you scream it as “five-soss” (it rhymes with boss). At least that’s what my 14-year-old niece, Chloe, told me as the lights went down and the band emerged.
Chloe was on hand to give me the girl’s perspective on the evening, a task she had performed with particular incisiveness some years back when we saw One Direction play the Hordern: “I loved the banter,” she’d told me back then.
5SOS’s Calum Hood, Michael Clifford, Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings – “just four really weird dudes from Western Sydney” in their words – have drawn frequent comparisons to that British fivesome.
But though their phenomenal success rings familiar (single You Look So Perfect is a worldwide chart monster), and 1D played a part in 5SOS’s success (the Australians have supported the Brits on tour) there are key differences.
Where One Direction put out increasingly mopey pop, Five Seconds of Summer sound more like boyband meets Blink 182. They call the sound “punk pop”, and while Sid Vicious might not quite see it that way, they do have an arsenal of fun and almost stadium-ready pop-rock songs made for teenage fist-pumping.
Out Of My Limit, show-opener Eighteen (“I’m sick of waiting till I’m 18”) and Amnesia are built on big Good Charlotte-like choruses, breakdowns and clap-alongs.
They’re also tight musicians (lead singer Luke Hemmings is a serious force on his guitar) and confident showmen – frighteningly so for their age (no one is over 19).
Dressed in tight black jeans and black singlets (Michael’s had ‘Metallica’ written across the chest) the band owned the stage and the crowd in a way few groups we’ve seen at the Enmore have done recently, including those with more “cred”.
The key though, is that 5SOS are relatable. When they weren’t not setting girls’ hearts on fire with a cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, they were goofing around with the high notes on Earth, Wind and Fire’s September or making silly faces at the bras being thrown on stage.
When I asked Chloe at the end of the night what she liked most, she told me simply: “The banter – they’re so funny.”
Well, I know how to get to her heart …
At one point in Wednesday night’s show, Calum told the crowd that the band’s families were in the house.
“Tonight we have to prove to our parents why it’s worthwhile that we dropped out of school,” he said.
Judging by the way his proud mum was rocking out to You Look So Perfect, it was mission accomplished.