Occupying the rarely straddled territory between boy band scream magnets and credible rockers, 5 Seconds of Summer have managed both to support One Direction on tour and win an award from metal magazine Kerrang! this year.
At the iTunes Festival, young girls far outnumbered anyone more dangerous in their audience — a five-year-old nibbled a rice cake in front of me — but the Australian quartet still struck knock-kneed, tight jeaned poses, thrashed their colourful hair and attacked their guitars just like the real thing.
It must be their high, sweet harmonies and instantly memorable choruses that attract the kids. That and the fact that with their fresh faces and Stones and Ozzy T-shirts, they looked like the school hunks as fancy dress punks. Songs such as 18 and Good Girls summoned a teen movie world of fake IDs and girls climbing out of bedroom windows at night.
The obvious antecedents are our own McFly and Busted. Members of both bands have been involved in 5SOS’s songwriting, and Busted’s Charlie Simpson was the night’s support act.
Hyperactive lights battered a bare stage with plenty of room for Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Luke Hemmings to race around wrestling their guitars. Drummer Ashton Irwin, clearly longing to be skipping about too, twiddled his sticks like the attention-seeking class disruptor.
Their next single, the acoustic Amnesia, was a rare moment of calm. Otherwise every song seemed to go faster than the last, with What I Like About You and the shouted chorus of Don’t Stop proving particularly fun. It’s arenas next for these fast risers, where there’ll be room for fans of every stripe.
June 12-13, SSE Arena, Wembley (ssearena.co.uk)