Gig review: McBusted and EofE at First Direct Arena, Leeds

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A Big budget concert is on the cards tonight for one of the most hotly ticketed shows for years. McBusted have arrived in Leeds and a sea of excitement is already sweeping the vast number of mainly female fans that have queued for many hours.

McBusted, for those of you who don’t know, is a collaboration between two British pop rock acts, Busted and McFly.

McBusted at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

McBusted at First Direct Arena, Leeds. Picture: Anthony Longstaff

They’ve brought with them Midlands pop rockers EofE as support tonight. Unusually for a band of their age, EofE write their own material and play their own instruments without a backing track in sight which in this day and age is commendable and should be a moral fibre for other up-and-coming acts to follow suit especially in light of the endless amount of TV talentless shows on all number of channels.

Taking to the stage they look pretty tiny to the immense stage backdrop which is behind them but quickly establish their presence especially to the myriad of screaming fans dotted around the arena. Tom Harris’ vocals are enough to capture the audiences attention and are superbly backed up by the talents of band members Nicky Waters (drums), Luke Bradley (bass) and guitarist Dan Bremner.

Musically they have a very accomplished sound which incorporates happy rock mixed with a typically all-American sounding rhythm. There are some very big guitar riffs in amongst a selection of catchy tunes, quite a gutsy approach from a band only fairly recently formed and in fairness they have pretty much pulled it off.

Busted helped launch the career of McFly back in 2004/5 through tour supports and then disbanded themselves. Busted frontman Charlie Simpson went on to start metal band Fightstar, James Bourne and Matt Willis created solo careers.

Simpson is the only member of both bands not to take part in McBusted’s formation.

McFly, however, have enjoyed notable success over the past 10 years – 18 consecutive top 20 singles, five studio albums and a string of TV and film appearances. Most recently Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter have increased their popularity through celebrity tv shows Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

McBusted have a couple of support acts on the billing tonight make this more of a musical showcase than standard headline and support line up. The arena is completely sold out and just occasionally you can spot the odd male who probably has reluctantly agreed to take his missus. Each one of them is statue still, arms folded, looking expressionless.

A brief five to 10-minute Back to the Future-themed video appears on the screens dotted around the stage revving up the energy within the arena until finally McBusted burst onto the stage with band members be launched from the stage floor and some appearing from a Delorian car which has drove through the backdrop. I can’t explain the level of noise emitting from the screams of 13,000 girls, it is absolutely beyond deafening.

For as much as I’m stood here, arms folded, statue still, looking expressionless, I know pretty much every song that is being played. It must be something that has been embedded in my brain perhaps while I’m asleep but I’m here mumbling the words to the chorus and my foot is automatically tapping away.

They start the set with a couple of Busted tracks including Air Hostess and Britney and smash through song after song each introduced by a colossal roar from the crowd. 5 Colours in Her Hair, Star Girl, All About You and Year 3000 are, as you can imagine, the most popular tracks played. It’s not a huge set list, by all accounts, but each song is absolutely played to its full potential.

This is a bit of a masterclass in pop production – the stage set is pretty fantastic, the set-list keeps attention and the energy from all the combined bands is full on throughout and those who have come away with undergarments intact are few and far between.

Gig date: April 30

Warpaint

Gig review: Warpaint at Leeds Beckett University