The Saturdays, September 17th 2014 at The Olympia Theatre
“SatAir will be departing in five minutes.” A voiceover mimicking a flight attendant announces to a crowded but nowhere near sold-out crowd in the Olympia Theatre.
It would be all too easy to write a snobby hate piece on the The Saturdays. The band, who have been on the trot for seven years, have had four albums, but managed to only score one number 1 single. Despite this, they felt entitled their career warranted the release of a greatest hits compilation, and embarked on a tour in support of it.
“The audacity!” the music elitists scoffed, throwing in the odd dig about how pop music lacks credibility and something about acts being ‘manufactured’.
The band put their middle fingers up – figuratively – to the critics, by staying true to the formula during their live shows. Opening with What Are You Waiting For?, the stage is set up as an airport runway, with suitably ridiculous dancers dresses as pilots to boot. The performance verges on cheesy, but is high-octane nonetheless.
“We wanna make this Wednesday night a Saturday night!” Foden delivers the first of many day-related puns to the raucous crowd.
Forever Is Over is vocally inconsistent, with Vanessa White carrying the track. Frankie Bridges reminds the upper tiers that they can see them: otherwise, her contribution to the whole affair is limited. Despite this, she manages to draw the most cat-calls from the men in the crowd.
Queue a costume change, before the girl band launch into Gentleman, dedicated to all the singletons. Bemoaning the lack of chivalry in the 21st century, the girls list off appropriate suitors, including Barack Obama and Foden’s husband, rugby-player Ben Foden. The performance is solid, showcasing an undeservedly unappreciated track from their back catalogue.
My Heart Takes Over is the first of a few ballads. It is hard to discern who is vocally weak and who is strong during the performance, but they are much stronger vocally as a group for this song. The girls are most impressive when the veneer wears slightly. At the core of the act is five girls who can sing, and at least one who can play guitar, as proved during the acoustic performance of debut album track Chasing Lights.
A band and audience selfie is almost obligatory at concerts now – The Saturdays indulge in a cheeky photo opp before performing Issues, as photos of the band members with members of the public transition in the background on their, ahem, ‘Satsagram’. While it is probably the most heartfelt performance of the night, the girls struggle with the lack of choreography, leading to a lot of awkward swaying and arm gestures.
The girls ensure they go out all guns blazing with their final two songs of the night – dance anthem All Fired Up features dancers dressed as firemen, and smoke guns. What About Us, another floor-filler, ensures the show is solidified in every attendee’s memory.
The Saturdays were churned out by their label faster than you can say ‘girl band’, and it shows in their performance. As performers, they are confident and self-assured. Their synchronicity as a band is unrivalled – from the fluidity of their dance moves to their exaggerated mannequin-esque posing. They are not serial hit-makers, but they can deliver track after track of face-value pop. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.