Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gig Review: Girls Aloud

So, off we went to sunny Sussex for the now annual trip to see Girls Aloud in concert. Having missed the greatest hits tour earlier this year (they dropped from the ceiling in military uniforms, apparently) we had to settle for what was basically a glorified PA in the historic grounds of Arundel Castle.

Before the band's 45-minute, ten-song set, we had the pleasure of being seranaded by Jamelia - who was criminally at the bottom of the bill - and Shayne "fucking" Ward.

This man and his dead-eyed ambition frighten me almost as much as his sizeable fan-base (sizeable in terms of numbers and body mass, by the way). He mugged his way through six flaccid songs with all the passion and excitement of an Aldi Peter Andre.

In every respect, Ward is a throwback to the way pop used to be before Girls Aloud came along to shake things up. I am not joking when I tell you that the the chorus to his next single goes "We've got a you hang up, no you hang up - kind of love". It beggars belief.

Anyway, on to the main event...

These days, Girls Aloud exude a stage-savvy confidence that befits their ample expereience and hit-laden back catalogue.

Nadine belts the tunes out with the power of an elephant on steroids - only with much better legs and hair. Nicola has improved massively, too, easily ranking as the second-best singer of the night. "We love the ginger one," one punter shouted repeatedly - although I'm not sure that was a tribute to her vocal prowess.

Sarah is the spritely cheerleader, getting the crowd to throw their hands in the air (they just didn’t care, apparently) and bounding around like a demented labrador during, appropriately enough, Jump. Her recent dalliances with Primal Scream and the Camden set were last night represented by a buzz-cut hairdo, reminiscent of a bottle blonde indie Kylie.

The chart-orientated set was lapped up by the crowd, with Love Machine and Sound of the Underground the best-received numbers. But the response to the group's new single Sexy! No, No, No… was strangely muted.

"Have you heard our new single?" asked Kimberley.

"..." said the crowd.

The performance didn't do much to sway them, either, with the backing track distinctly quieter than previous numbers. It was the one time when the magic vanished - which could prove interesting when the record's first chart placing comes in this weekend.

That aside, it was a stunningly assured concert by a band who were clearly enjoying being out of the recording studio and back on stage. And its pretty impressive that, in the current pop climate, a band like Girls Aloud can headline their own outdoor gig. Next stop: Wembley Stadium?

Wake Me Up
Walk This Way
Whole Lotta History
Sound Of The Underground
Something Kinda Ooooh
Stand By You
Sexy! No, No, No
Love Machine

PS As you might be able to tell, I haven't been able to find any photos of the girls' appearance in Arundel - but here's a montage of images from their concert in Wales last week, pilfered from www.girlsaloud.net

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