LIVE: 5 Seconds of Summer @ Wembley Arena

By Tamsyn Wilce

When I was asked to review 5 Seconds of Summer at Wembley it took a few days (and a lot of persuasion) to convince the editor of Punktastic to let me go. I myself have always been a bit of a sucker for a good pop-rock song, but the band have struggled to make any sort of mark on the alternative scene since their birth.

Therein lies the problem. Just what type of band are 5 Seconds of Summer? Nobody really knows. Many are quick to slam them as a pop boyband, which is understandable when their live resume includes to huge support slots with One Direction and their fanbase is predominantly teenage girls. However, the band have openly admitted they take influence from the likes of Green Day, Blink 182 and Paramore and are welcoming pop-punkers State Champs as main support for their Australian headline tour. Really then, are they all that dissimilar to other bands in the rock industry? John Feldman produced their debut album, they’ve written with Good Charlotte, All Time Low and Lower Than Atlantis, so if these bands can easily accept them, then why is everyone else so reluctant to welcome them in?

The proof is in the pudding, so they say, so I thought the only way to see if 5SOS could truly be a rock band, was to see them live. Okay, so I know what you’re thinking, they’ve barely been around a year and they’re already playing Wembley. They’ve not had to slog their guts out in basement venues playing to 20 people for five years. But they did make the decision to leave their home country of Australia and move to London three years ago, when they were all barely out of school, to make their dream a reality and that in itself is quite courageous.

Kicking the night off with ‘End Up Here’ the screams filling the arena were deafening and the four strapping young lads command the stage as if they’ve done this a hundred times over. The setlist strongly focuses on the hits from their debut, self-titled record, with ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Heartbreak Girl’ clear favourites and they even snuck in a rendition of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’, which I initially thought would go down like a lead balloon to a crowd who haven’t even sat their GCSE’s yet. However, it would seem that 5SOS have introduced their fanbase to a whole variety of music from the years gone by and the track receives a tremendous response. The acoustic break for ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Beside You’ sees the arena lit up with lights and almighty sing-a-longs ensue and I can’t help but feel a little charmed by it all.

The show wasn’t without it’s faults, which in a way made the evening feel a little more realistic and not the overly planned, mimed spectacle that was slightly expected. Bassist Calum Hood forgot his words on more than one occasion (slightly disappointing) and the entire encore had to be scrapped due to guitarist Michael Clifford catching fire on pyrotechnics in the final chorus of hit ‘She Looks So Perfect’. [Get well soon.]

Overall, it was actually a pretty enjoyable experience, but I’m still no closer to answering the question raised at the start of this, as to where on the rock music spectrum do they sit? There is no crowd surfing or mosh pits and it’s undeniable that they lean more towards pop than rock. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop as a band in the years to come, but a few things are for certain – they are a band, they love pop-punk and rock music and really they are just four guys living out their dream of playing to thousands of people. Which band doesn’t want that? In my opinion, we should all just let them get on with it and carry on. Genres are being blurred more and more and if you like what you hear, enjoy it, that’s all anyone wants from their music, for people to enjoy it, right?