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Live Review: Mindless Behavior

8th May 2012

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Watching Mindless Behavior play a sold-out London show at Indigo2 should have been a joyous affair.Mindless Behavior

With a fan demographic comparable to that of Justin Bieber, for team mindless it scarcely matters that the quartet look like they should be out playing hopscotch. What does matter tonight is that they’re cool, receptive and able to rock the stage with the swagger and confidence befitting for their adoring fans.

I arrive at the venue to a hoard of screaming girls waiting eagerly to get inside. I am too short to see over the large crowd, but the unvarying and piercing sound of screams overhead churn a blast of anxiety inside of me. If this is the calm before the storm, what on earth am I about to walk into?

Inside the venue, I stand at the back and make small talk with the barman away from the swarming mass of young girls forming at the front of the stage, and he tells me that they have been queuing since 7am. “It’s crazy," he says, pouring me some wine. He's generally taken aback by the hysteria; I wonder what all the fuss is about.

The parents stand together at the rear end of the venue sipping alcoholic beverages as their screaming children caterwaul in shrill voices showing little sign of calming down. And yet, I can’t condemn them for it. In a 13-hour waiting game, it's inevitable that kids will demonstrate a fatigued outburst of unrest and parents will signal a retreat to the beer garden.

The weight of the distress is definitely felt by the boys’ management, though. The stage is full of around 6 stage crew, managers and who-knows-who trying to restrain the uproarious crowd, and as a result the atmosphere is more than a little chaotic. At least the parents say more to me than they did outside, enraged by the tedious wait and lack of control displayed by the event organisers.

"Take five steps back," a crew member says, insisting that the show will be cancelled if they do not cooperate. As his attempts fall on deaf ears, the management steps in and insists, once more, that they "take five steps back." I resist the urge to go and remove the tiny teenyboppers myself.

Security try to detain the rolling mass of screamers, but again, they appear to be greatly outnumbered and fighting a losing battle. It's just surreal.

Conor Maynard’s support performance is pulled altogether and as the frustrated atmosphere reaches a soaring apex, the collective finally hit the stage. I am instantly drenched in thunderous screams, powerful enough to pin you to the back of the room. As they begin the first verse of My Girl, I realise with resigned respect that the hysteria I assumed to be a little over the top, was, in fact, well deserved. They attack the stage with high-energy choreography – "good" doesn't begin to cover it. All of them are equally confident, though what boy wouldn't be, knowing every girl in the room is yearning for him?

Unfortunately, as the level of madness hits an all-time-high, they manage just three songs before being forced to end the show over safety fears for the audience.

Every person in the room is dissatisfied, the management look visibly upset, and with that we’re ushered out.

I’m not surprised that it ended the way it did - the gig had been on a wilful fast-track to abolition ever since the fans arrived hours ago.

Indeed, one of the most heartbreaking things about the all-too-brief show is that the first, downward spiral phase lasted longer than the jubilant second flush of showmanship, when the boys were simply phenomenal, with a confessional swagger that drew you in, like a moth to a flame. 

I’m sure that this would have been an exceptional show - if not for all that mindless behaviour.

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