REVIEW: 5 Seconds of Summer bathe in ‘Youngblood’ at San Jose Event Center

5SOS, 5 Seconds of Summer, Luke Hemmings, Ashton Irwin, Calum Hood, Michael Clifford

5 Seconds of Summer perform at the Event Center at San Jose State University on Oct. 3, 2018. Photos: Chloe Catajan

SAN JOSE — Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer is the current hottest band in the U.S. right now. Last week, the heartthrobs earned their first No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart with “Youngblood.” That’s 14 spots higher than their previous peak, with 2015’s “She’s Kinda Hot.”

The band brought its tour in support of its new record of the same name to the San Jose Event Center Wednesday, where the two songs earned the shrillest shrieks from the extremely devoted, mostly young fans. Thirty minutes after doors opened, the floor was so crammed that wobbly concertgoers were already getting pulled out by security. This kept happening every few minutes, and before 5 Seconds of Summer even took the stage, a man announced that if everyone didn’t take several steps back, the band would not take the stage.

Frontman Luke Hemmings, bassist Calum Hood, guitarist Michael Clifford and drummer Ashton Irwin walked onto the stage as fans screamed their names, and they jetted right into “Babylon,” off the Youngblood record, which the band released in June. Over a roughly 70-minute show, 5 Seconds of Summer played nearly every tune from the new record. On “Babylon,” the shrieks paused briefly for a massive singalong toward the end. In fact, it seemed that fans had only two gears: Screaming and singing. Oftentimes, they would drown out Clifford and Hemmings entirely, leaving just the rhythm section to propel songs forward.

The Aces, The Aces band

The Aces perform at the Event Center at San Jose State University on Oct. 3, 2018.

Hemmings talked to fans only briefly, making small talk about having a great crowd, professing love to fans and giving a shout-out to San Jose. That meant the concert moved at a brisk pace from song to song. The stage, which was adorned with pretty LED beams, turned shades of violets and reds for second cut “Talk Fast.” That song came across a bit like classic ’80s Heart.

The floor swayed in unison during “Moving Along,” and fans were ready when 5 Seconds of Summer broke out “She’s Kinda Hot” next. Once the band slowed the pace for the bassy “More,” it would continue to decrease for the second third of the set, including ballad “Ghost of You” and the acoustic “Amnesia” (from the band’s 2014 self-titled debut). On the latter, the band members took turns singing lead on verses, and were completely drowned out by screaming fans. “Lie to Me” began with only Hemmings’ modulated vocals, but the band eventually kicked in, turning it into a power ballad. The slower section may have killed some of the mood in the parents’ section in the seats, but it only turned the younger fans on the floor more passionate.

The latter third of the second include the EDM-like freakout “Meet You There,” which sounds much better live than on record, and set-closer “Youngblood,” which no doubt everyone was waiting to hear.

Utah dance pop band The Aces opened the show, playing their first Bay Area gig since BottleRock in May. The four childhood friends quickly blew through a short set that included opening track “Volcanic Love,” “Stay,” “Last One,” “Strong Enough” and “Loving Is Bible.” The band’s signature breezy dance pop sound was punctuated by muted guitar strings and punch bass, further cementing The Aces in the same category as The 1975 and Pale Waves.

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