5ive at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Cast your mind back to a time when mobile phones were still strong enough to drive nails and Simon Cowell was a name known only by the economically viable. This was a pre-talent show Britain where the shelf life of boybands extended past a debut album, a Britain approaching the millennium. Whether you miss it or not, the nostalgia angle seems to sell well these days. So it was with perhaps a hint of ageing comeback irony that Survivor’s Rocky, evoking Eye of the Tiger, welcomed one-time Brit Award winners 5ive back to the stage. The boyband that once promised to “make you get down” are back to give it another go with their Loud and Intimate tour.
Two members down but keeping the name for artistic continuity, the remaining trio of Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson bounced back onto the stage, waving customarily sanitised gang-signs. They kicked off proceedings with Slam Dunk (Da Funk) and quickly followed with a few of their more dancefloor favoured numbers, including Everybody Get Up and Rock the Party – all met with instantaneous screams from a surprisingly age-diverse crowd, marvelling at them through smartphone apertures.
What unfortunately became clear during a fumbling segue, which turned the word “no” into “na” and then “na na na na na na” to introduce Got the Feelin, was that live performance isn’t something the group has given much thought to of late. Their onstage presence was visibly disjointed and at times appeared lazy and self-conscious, perhaps indicative of the sort of polish that big label support can provide – a sense of cohesion the remaining members seemed ill-equipped to carry alone.
While it would perhaps be unnecessary to be overly critical of an industry-constructed pop group attempting a comeback tour without a great deal of funding or support, they did little to help their cause. From the flat vocal notes and painfully unsynchronised, outdated dance routines, to a medley that seemed to include a great deal of pop music they had no part in producing, you are left with an impression that rather than being a labour of love, this is a group going through the motions simply because the opportunity has presented itself. A performance that scored a few nostalgia points with the crowd, but ultimately disappointed.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information about 5ive and future events visit here.
Watch the video for If Ya Gettin’ Down here: