They got some answers Thursday night, as a thousand fans crowded into lower Manhattan’s Irving Plaza for a rare chance to see 5SOS play a small club show (before they play to crowds of 10,000 and more on their upcoming U.S. tour). Kids were lined up outside the venue early in the morning. The hype was very real and, later, very loud. 5SOS played five Youngblood tracks (three of them not yet released) along with a reliable helping of the hits.
Here are our takeaways from the evening:
1. First, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. There were drink specials:
2. It was really, really loud. Like, nearly pain-inducing loud. When you take the screeching and screaming of an arena crowd and bottle it up in a club, you’re going to get some crazy kinetic energy. And that’s not the only way fans were making noise. They were singing along to everything -- not just the old hits, but songs that aren't even out yet. There were lots of homemade signs. Also, bringing a dozen roses to a 5SOS show and throwing them onstage intermittently throughout the night is apparently a thing.
3. The band returned the favor. By now, it’s common knowledge the guys have a deeply genuine rapport with their fans, but at a small show like this, it’s on another level entirely. After playing “Waste the Night” midway through the set, drummer Ashton Irwin halted the show to invite the owner of a particularly eye-grabbing sign onstage. It was a girl named Tricia whose sign said she turned 21 that day and wanted to do shots. (When Irwin asked the crowd how many birthdays were in the house, roughly 60 percent screamed, so who knows really). Anyway, Tricia and Irwin locked elbows and downed shots of something. Maybe it was one of the drink specials. Tricia wins.
4. Ah, the new music. The band played lead single “Want You Back,” just-released single “Youngblood,” and three other unreleased songs: “Moving Along,” “Valentine” and “Lie to Me.” Played live, the three newbies (especially the first two) have a groovy, almost minimal, new wave feel to them, kind of like late-'70s Cars covering big ol' Max Martin pop songs. The band’s live setup is just guitars, bass and drums (it was hard even to detect a backing track), which really brings out the rock side of a polished radio pop song like “Want You Back.” It’ll be interesting to hear the album versions of the three unreleased songs to see how they compare. It’s undeniable though that the pop-punk bpm’s of their first two albums have been dialed down to explore a different side of the band.
5. 5SOS' first album since 2015 is definitely a real thing. Here’s the set list from last night:
1. She Looks So Perfect
2. Girls Talk Boys
4. Moving Along
5. She’s Kinda Hot
8. Lie to Me
9. Waste the Night
10. Talk Fast
12. Jet Black Heart
13. Want You Back