This week TQS magazine was invited along to FutureHits Live with The Hits Radio to hear what the next big thing in pop might sound like. The line up was headlined by X-Factor winner and downright brilliant popstar Alexandra Burke, and took place in the intimate Mine at Leeds University Union.
Upon arrival, it was pretty clear we were the oldest people there – save for the smattering of exhausted looking dads that lined the back wall of the club. We should have known – handsome popstars – like Lonsdale Boys Club, the opening act, attract throngs of teenage girls. An odd mix between indie boyband with a bit of hip hop chucked in, this band was a favourite amongst the crowd – helped no doubt by the skinny jeans and low cut vests the poster-pretty line up were wearing. Like a reserved LMFAO cross-bred with the rockier side of The Wanted, Lonsdale Boys Club did a lovely job and were pleasing on the eye, but didn’t ignite a scream from us.
Speaking of screaming, we now know how Justin Bieber feels. Man, he must have some BAD hearing. Bieber himself wasn’t in the room, but his support from his last tour were. Mindless Behaviour, an urban boy(child)band, made up of four miniature Jason Derulo’s, had the crowd in hysterics. Think young girls throwing their knickers at people was a myth? It’s not. We were scared. Unfortunately for us, the only hysterical thing about Mindless Behaviour was just how terrible they were. They were dressed like Willow Smith on a TKMaxx shopping spree, performed out of sync, dated ‘urban’ dance routines and mimed. Fucking mimed. Uninterested and uninspiring, they need to learn that there’s a fine line between artistic arrogance and being a tool. And that we only allow Britters to mime these days, because she’s LEGENDARY. How they’ve got
28 million hits is beyond us.
Next up was the unassuming Alyssa Reid, who our radio friends were particularly excited about seeing. Apparently she’d had a number one, but we were none the wiser. There was a vague moment of recollection when she performed ‘Alone Again’ but we put that down to the 80s sample sparking some recognition. She did perform a great cover of Gotye’s Someone I Used To Know, which included a DUPSTEP BREAKDOWN. A short set, which could have done with a dash more energy, but still fun, and a pleasant voice nonetheless.
Stooshe were next – the first band we’d heard of. We saw their video with Travie McCoy a while back, and have to admit, we turned it off halfway through. It was a bit too garish for us. Our cynical selves were quickly won round by the girls here though – with a live band, bundles of energy, and a cool, fun, and excited vibe, they had the room dancing and put a big smile on our faces. Styled brilliantly (how often do you get a shaved head AND a Nicki Minaj-esque wig in one girlband? Eh, NEVER) and vocally impressive, Stooshe were the highlight of the night. Imagine if the first line up of the Sugababes were on poppers, doing karaoke to Misteeq at 4am. Times ten. THAT. We want to go out on the piss with them, downing WKD Blue and poledancing on lamp posts. Still a little Daphne and Celeste in places on record, but if their next single ‘Black Heart’, a clever, modern pop ballad is a sign of the direction they’re heading in, we can’t wait for more.
And just like that, it was time for the headliner Alexandra Burke. A stripped back set with a couple of backing dancers and styled in simple streetwear, Burke still proved to be the pop powerhouse she’s known as, stomping through opener ‘All Night Long’. Other highlights included a Lil’ Wayne dance breakdown during ‘Bad Boys’, a surprise addition of ‘Hallelujah’ (which we thought she’d be bored with, but still performed with reverence and authority), and her dancer’s ridiculously cut abs. ‘Elephant’, coupled with Burke’s fantastic stage presence and personality had the crowd dancing, and set concluding new single ‘Let It Go’ was equally as energetic. We’re loving her dance-focused new sound, but hope there’s still some of those tear jerking X-Factor style rock ballads on her new record.
In the year of the Olympics and the Jubilee, it’s perhaps encouraging that the best of FutureHits Live was British talent, and if this is the way British pop is going, we’re in.