Mcfly - MEN Arena Manchester - 19.3.11

Before I begin, I should announce that, typically I am not a boy band fan. Bands made of boys? Yes. Oily, rippling biceps and embarrassing man-cleverages? No. However, whilst Arctic Monkeys could be construed as my loving and devoted husband, McFly without a doubt would be my one-night-stand. Their catchy choruses and their cheesy but soul-soothing lyrics equate to an unusual but definite perfection.

The first of three support acts were Nottingham band That Sunday Feeling, who reminded me of a younger Fall Out Boy, but with longer hair. They performed a strategically compiled mash-up of Teenage Dirtbag, Forget You and Sex is on Fire, which managed to rise the crowd up of the pre-headline lack of enthusiasm, and closed with their debut single You’re So Vain, which isn’t only an undeniable top-tapper, but a rock song with a valuable and accessible message, who knew?

The second support act were a five-piece pop/rock band from Sailsbury called City Stereo. Sure, they had a “dance like you mean it”, head bobbing base line; they have been plucked from the thousands of entrants and eleven finalists for the Q Music Magazine/Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition, which resulted in a Queen’s Head stage performance back in 2009.

Unquestionably impressive, however, when I was in the process of deciding whether or not my feelings towards this band were positive, perhaps it was their over-confident or their slightly narcissistic attitudes, or maybe even the clichéd plaid shirt that dissuaded me.

The last of the support bands – The Struts – were embracing a bold nineties aesthetic. This band has character, and with front man Luke Struts donning a retro frilly sleeved shirt and flares, he reminded me of a less flamboyant Noel Fielding (complete with mullet) that was attending an Austin Powers themed fancy dress party. This band had definite appeal, and their songs were catchy, and their stage experience was obviously a lot. They were even courteous enough to teach us the chorus of their final song “Delilah”, and even told us a story accompanied with an apology for their grammatically incorrect lyrics! I would advise you to log onto their website thestruts.com.

A twenty minute break and some ‘bangin’ background tunes accounted for the time between The Struts and McFly; I was growing impatient, but the hiatus allowed me to read some of the banners. Highlights included “Dougie, don’t go into the woods” and a simple and poetic “Get Naked.”

When the lights suddenly disappeared, the shrill, girlish screams of the crowd was over-whelming intense; the longing yells for McFly’s appearance were prolonged by an elusive light show, until all four ran on and the long-awaited opener Party Girl began. I couldn’t help but jump up and down, arms flailing uncontrollably. In my elated euphoric state, I hop-skipped to the front barrier where a crowd had already gathered, like moths to a flame (which could later take on a literal meaning…)

Considering they were touring their new album That’s The Truth – released on the 18th March – they maintained a perfect balance between old and new. Favourites of the night included the electric Transylvania, the dramatically urgent Lies, and mid-set, a balcony emerged: t-shirt guns flared; heart-quaking vocal solos by singer and guitarist Tom Fletcher; and large balloon-type devices were released – measuring meters in diameter. After a more heart-belting ballads, Fletcher pardoned himself for fully expressing himself whilst on the glass-bottomed balcony: “I just realised you could see my bum…” but fortunately this confession was received by a roaring squeal of pleasure by the masses of girls beneath.

The night included a special appearance from singer and guitar player Danny Jones’ alter-ego “D-Dog” singing an unexpected Tinie Tempah number – Pass Out – which was somehow amusing given my initial hatred for this song.

After McFly had McFleed, predictably, the crowd burst into a spontaneous “We want more” and other variations which all contained massive amounts of foot stamping.

They returned with The Heart Never Lies and One For The Radio, which was accompanied my a more than impressive light show, which consisted of a flame lit McFly logo above drummer, Harry Judd’s head, and bursts of flame appearing in time to the chorus – not that the crowd needed any more warming up.

For their final encore, they played their hit single – for which they collaborated with Taio Cruz – Shine A Light. Their energy and stage presence were truly professional, and I think that I may be at risk at loving them more than ever, if that’s possible anyway. The logo was lit up once again, despite Harry’s warnings that “British gas’ll be onto [them]”, but this time streamers and dry ice were present at the frivolities.

The moral of the story is – despite being a closet McFly fan – is to embrace the unconditional happiness of all of their songs. Whilst Alex Turner may be at the forefront of my idols, I can now admit to being an admirer of the half Essex, quarter Bolton/London four-piece because, well, McFly says it best…

“We all look the same in the dark…”

Faye Baillie

 


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