They say that you can’t feel music, but I strongly disagree — especially when you’re waiting in the dim lighting of an enormous arena, rocking back and forth on the balls of your feet, waiting for one specific person, or four in this case, to step into the spotlight.
It started with a pounding. The pounding of Ashton wailing on the drums mirrored that of my heart jumping inside of my chest. Shielded by a thick wall, just out of my eyesight, he beat his instrument with such a passion that it enticed the crowd to chant the band’s name over and over again: “5SOS! 5SOS! 5SOS!” Hundreds of people yelled as one, saying their own special nickname for the band that had changed their lives.
Slowly, the shriek of a guitar merged with the beating of the drums as Michael came into view. Calum and his bass were next as the wall in front of Ashton began to fall. I had to force myself to stay calm by clutching my cell phone and camera in my hands so as to keep them from shaking uncontrollably as Luke strutted to his microphone in center stage. Finally, all four of my inspirations were standing before me. It seems that up until that moment, I had forgotten that these boys were more than just faces on my computer screen; they were actual skin and bones with minds of their own, and now they were causing the entire KFC Yum! Center to go wild. “Louisville, are you ready to rock?” Ashton raised his arms in excitement as the fans around me let out ear-piercing shrills and lost control of their sanity.
The Aussie pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer launched into their set for the 48th show on their Rock Out With Your Socks Out world tour. The guys not only pleased the crowd with the expected tracks off of their debut album, entitled 5 Seconds of Summer, but also toyed with their hearts by playing fan favorites from one of their first ever EP’s released. These throwback songs included “Beside You” and “Disconnected.” “She’s Kinda Hot” is the newest single that has been released by the young band, and they encouraged everyone in the arena to get up and dance and sing along as the guys sang perhaps the most recognized lyric from the track: “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene.”
Before they were signed to a record label, Calum, Ashton, Luke, and Michael were known mostly for the covers that they uploaded to their YouTube channel. It was clear when the guys performed their covers of “What I Like About You” by The Romantics and Green Day’s “American Idiot” that they have not lost touch with their roots whilst touring over the past few years. Covering such well-known songs by bands that have become legends can sometimes be intimidating, but the boys of 5SOS don’t let this stop them. Adding their own energy and twist to the classics only enhanced the tracks and made even the dad sitting behind me — who was ready to rip his hair out — stop for a minute and pay attention.
However, the night ended all too soon when the familiar refrain of “Good Girls” rang throughout the building and the band sang the final song of the night. Screams erupted from the seats in every inch of the stadium as Ashton joined his fellow band members at the front of the stage and, together, the four boys made their way up the catwalk. With their arms around each other, Luke, Calum, Ashton, and Michael all took a bow and waved at their adoring fans, thanking them one last time before running offstage.
They may be young, but these boys definitely know how to put on a good show. There was never a dull moment throughout the set, and the chemistry between the band and their fans that night was almost tangible. With throats raw and red and with flesh sticky and sweaty, boys, girls, adults, and teens all left there wanting one thing from 5 Seconds of Summer: more.
Grace Dearing is 16 years old and a junior in high school. She loves to read and write, and she just recently started writing about a year ago. She’s a huge music enthusiast and loves to attend as many concerts a possible.
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.
For most bands, getting to play a national morning show like TODAY is a telling sign of sustained success. 5 Seconds of Summer, who performed on the show on Wednesday (Oct. 28), have been there before, almost a year ago to the day. That was when they were still introducing themselves to U.S. audiences; this year, the moment feels much bigger. It's a huge deal for them, now, as a band who've proven themselves to have real staying power. It's an even bigger deal for their young fans, and the dedicated masses showed that no one was going to keep them from enjoying it.
Prior to the scheduled 7:00 AM start time, 5SOS set forth on an epic sound-check, running through hits "She Looks So Perfect" and the Madden Brothers-penned "Amnesia." They work through "She's Kinda Hot" and "Hey Everybody!" the latter causes every older gent in Rockefeller Plaza to namecheck the Duran Duran "Hungry Like the Wolf" influence. It becomes clear that this is going to take a while, and that the crowd is in it for the long haul.
More:5SOS's 'Sounds Good Feels Good' Through the Creators' Eyes: Track-by-Track
The media members are corralled onto a tiered platform stage left, bassist Calum Hood's side. Photographers are forced to bring their own step stools to ensure quality shots. You're fighting against giant, rotating cameras and the people who operate them.
In the first general admission section, girls who have been camping out since yesterday afternoon stand proudly. Their perfectly applied cat-eye mascara drips with excited tears. They know their determination and patience is about to pay off. When 5SOS emerge, they launch directly into "She Looks So Perfect." The screams of the girls and their moms in the audience rival the band's amplifiers. It's deafening and exciting--the fans know how to make a thin hallway at Rockefeller Center feel like an olympic-sized arena.
5SOS leaves the stage a few times, once to change guitars, another time to be interviewed by the hosts of the program, including Carson Daly. Watching the once-iconic TRL VJ chat with the one of the biggest bands in the world feels nostalgic and true. Was it really that long ago that naked Blink-182 was running across MTV and into our hearts?
Moments before 5SOS launch into "Amnesia," the photographer standing directly behind me inexplicably starts heckling. He decides to tarnish the importance of the band by calling them "One Direction's cash cow," and assigns the girls in the audience the title "groupies." When the band fiddles with covers of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" and a handful of AC/DC riffs, he seems to be filled with even more rage.
More:How Well Do You Know 5 Seconds of Summer?
The photographer is especially invested into the queer female couple standing directly in front of me--or perhaps they're just close enough to hear the brunt of his remarks. Both are women of color and look as though they've been waiting for an eternity for 5SOS in person. In any sort of young-male-group fandom, this obviously puts them in the minority, and demonstrates that these silly Aussie boys are loved for more than their chiseled cheekbones and sharp jawlines. These girls just fucking love this band.
A few excruciating minutes go by, and I find myself unable to tolerate the photographer's insults. I turn and say, "You're being rude. You need to shut the fuck up. These girls have been waiting for days."
His response is immediate: "Where are you from?" It felt like a racial remark. Before I could answer, he added, "Well, I'm American, and you're violating my right to free speech. I was talking to my buddy, not you."
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CITI
Not only did I find myself in a position where I had to stop a man who was literally—financially!—benefiting from this band to stop attacking young women, my intelligence and identity as an American was also being insulted. His heckling did not stop. If anything, he used my comment as fodder for more condescension. He spoke loudly and unapologetically, above the other members in the media area. He spoke loud enough to silence the girls in front of us.
This sort of behavior is commonplace in the music world that young, female fans operate in. Simply by being young and female, society dismisses your taste and appreciation, even though it's often more enthusiastic and pure than those of other demographics. Your tears are invalid, your obsessions futile. To this guy, this band was mediocre at best, because these girls were mediocre at best, simply because they were girls. People like this photo bro are effectively telling girls that their thoughts and feelings are irrelevant because they are female, young and excited. He is effectively tellings girls that their opinions don't matter.
More:Which 5 Seconds Of Summer Member Are You?
The photographer behind me was too stupid to consider that, but luckily, he was behind me, and barricaded from the female couple enjoying the show. They could kiss, embrace and watch 5 Seconds of Summer without feeling harm, as they should. The man probably believes he affected them in some way, but I believe they left knowing what I know: His ignorance fuels their power. It fuels the power of young girls, who are fueling the success of inclusive new acts like 5 Seconds of Summer. A tune like "Amnesia" might not seem like much to most now, but it means the world to a select few. And what's more powerful than that?
5 Seconds of Summer Through The Years: Photos
In just a short couple years 5 Seconds of Summer became an unstoppable force. Relive some awesome moments from their budding career as we celebrate 5SOS Week
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