It’s shows like these that remind me of how fun live shows and music can be. 10 years ago me would have been at least a little upset that I would go to pop punk, boy band-ish concerts, but here we are now, seeing a bunch of bands I normally wouldn’t and I’m loving it. I don’t know if it’s age thing (I would argue it isn’t), but the older I’ve gotten the more accepting and appreciative of unfamiliar music type I’ve become. I’m very fortunate to be able to say I’ve never been to a bad concert over the last two and a half years.
5 Seconds of Summer surprised me with how good they were last April at Varsity Theater, and surprised me again last night when they play Armory. Back in 2016 I got the chance to see Avenged Sevenfold play First Avenue, a venue that holds about ten percent of the crowd that would go to see them in the arenas in town here. When 5 Seconds of Summer was at Varsity I got similar vibes and it was exciting seeing a band as big as them play a venue so small. They announced around the same time a fall tour at bigger venues and right away I was excited to see them in a much bigger setting. It also helps that I didn’t have to drive in the middle of a two feet of snow kind of blizzard this time, too.
The band’s set, music and abilities translated over incredibly well to a venue as big at Armory. Think like a miniature version of Xcel Energy Center, or other hockey/basketball arena, and that’s kind of the feel you get at Armory. It’s a huge venue but still has the intimate feel of a smaller venue. The night felt like one big ol’ party, and the lighting and production value of the set were to die for. The band put on what was probably the most interesting, pretty displays for a set I’ve seen all year. I was saying earlier in the day that I hope the lighting would be better than the last time I shot them, and I got my wish.
Musically, the night went fantastically. I initially wasn’t sure if I was going to stay for the whole thing because they were going to play a whole 20 song long set, but those 20 songs went by ridiculously fast. “Youngblood,” “She Looks So Perfect,” and “Want You Back” were a great trio to end the show. Some of the band’s songs studio versions don’t really do much for me, but when played live give off a powerful energy. The only negative of the night was near the end when guitarist Michael Clifford tried to get the fans to scream super loud and break a record, apparently 120 decibels. The idea of it was cool, but the execution of it just seemed to come off as rehearsed, at least more towards the end of it. But oh well, very minor complaint.
I had to take my earplugs out for those screams to properly gauge just how loud a venue as big as the Armory can get when filled with teenage girls. I don’t think I would have had a full show experience otherwise, and yeah, it was pretty painfully loud. But I’ll endure that pain every time to be able to experience and shoot their shows.