5 Seconds of Summer: A Two-Year Hiatus, But We’re Always Gonna Want Them Back

 

Guitarist Michael Clifford at The Belasco Theater on April 25. Photo by Samantha Wong.

When Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) announced its comeback tour, 5SOS3, after two years away from the stage, many fans had one question.

Has 5 Seconds of Summer already had its five seconds of fame?

The quartet consisting of lead vocalist Luke Hemmings, guitarist Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood, and drummer Ashton Irwin performed at a sold-out concert at The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on April 25. The Belasco’s capacity is a little bit over 1,000 people, a stark contrast from the band’s last concert in 2016 at The Forum, which has a capacity of around 17,500.

Nevertheless, the screaming crowd of fans at The Belasco is an indicator that 5SOS is anything but a has-been.

The audience, consisting of mostly high school and college students, has not changed in the past two years. Fans still wait days outside the venue to secure front-row spots, organize fan projects, and arrive bearing gifts for the band members (in this case, bouquets of roses).

The band itself has changed, though. Gone are the days of the members sporting multi-colored hair and jumping across the stage. In 5SOS’s attempt to reflect their maturity, collared white shirts and glitter replaced ripped band shirts and rubber bracelets.

5SOS’s wardrobe is only the first line of defense for a band that’s been trying to shake off its image as a boy band with only female fans. Throughout the 13-song set, it became clear that the band’s new sound is more reminiscent of rock bands like All Time Low and You Me At Six, heavier on rock than pop. Incidentally, these are groups that have a larger male fanbase.

Of the six songs 5SOS performed from its upcoming album, “Youngblood”, four of them (“Moving Along”, “Valentine”, “Talk Fast”, and promotional single “Youngblood”) are clearly rock songs. The other two, “Lie to Me” and lead single “Want You Back”, lean more towards the pop sound of 5SOS’s older songs.

Bassist Calum Hood at The Belasco Theater on April 25. Hood started to play the keyboard to perform 5SOS’s new songs during the 5SOS3 tour. Photo by Samantha Wong

Strangely, for its heavier-sounding songs, 5SOS lacked the energy and liveliness it displayed during fan-favorite oldies like “She Looks So Perfect” and “Disconnected” at the concert. Granted, this may be because the band is still fine-tuning their performance with these songs after their two-year hiatus. Though the audience, including employees from the band’s record company, Capitol Records, sang and danced along to every word, 5SOS rarely interacted with them. The concert would have felt one-sided had it not been for each member periodically thanking the fans.

“I’ve never been happier in my life and I thank every single fan in this room,” Irwin said during a break between songs.

Irwin and the rest of 5SOS have good reason to be content. The band may have soared as a boy band, but its success as a rock band is just beginning, as evidenced on April 25. With “Youngblood” slated to be released June 22 and a world tour right on its heels, 5SOS is throwing itself back into the limelight, but this time as true rock stars.

5 Seconds of Summer at The Belasco Theater on April 25. Fans brought roses to give to the band during the closing song, “Want You Back,” which mentions roses. Photo by Samantha Wong

Tickets are now on sale for 5SOS’s next concert in Los Angeles on October 12 at the Greek Theatre.

 

Samantha Wong

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