The JLS 4th Dimension tour rolled through Belfast last night, supported by a trio of hot urban pop acts and some state of the art graphics. Thanks to Aiken Promotions, Unreality TV was in the audience and here is what we thought of the gig.
The concept of the 4th Dimension stage show is like that of a video game – our intrepid all-singing, all-dancing four piece have to battle through four levels, battling foes and picking up diamonds along the way. When they get all four jewels, they achieve “Infinity”. Which shows they still don’t understand the Boyband Product Lifecycle. But regardless, I was tickled that the four people to save the world from an incredibly vague threat would be four former Nandos employees who became stars via a reality TV show.
Let’s start with the support acts, shall we? The gig kicked off with NVS, who appeared to be missing a member onstage, but still entertained us with their Drop Dead Gorgeous single. Much more impressive, however, were the all-girl four-piece, Vida. These four burst onto the stage in a blaze of colour and excruciatingly tight trousers and proceeded to burn through a number of their own tunes. The songs were excellent – street pop married to sexy Carribean rhythms – and the girls danced for their lives. If 2012 is the year of the girlband, then these ladies are definitely ones to watch.
The final support act was Starboy Nathan. Let’s put it this way, if One Direction are the boyband equivalent of Justin Bieber, then Nathan Gayle is the solo equivalent of JLS. It was a match made in heaven. Nathan channels all the smooth moves of the Nandos Four, flipping across the stage and delivering slick R&B as effortlessly as Usher or Chris Brown might. This guy’s ready for the big time. Keep an eye out for his new single Who Am I, out this month.
The headline act: JLS
The concert could have gone horribly wrong at this point. The intro video kicked in, a computerised voice explaining the 4th Dimension concept as the crowd whipped themselves into a frenzy. All eyes went to the middle stage in the arena, where the JLS boys were lazily abseiling down from the ceiling. After the exciting intro, this felt like a bit of a buzzkill. But not to the packed-out venue full of teenage girls who were just esctatic to see their idols landing on the stage. Lose a point, cantankerous old git.
That minor niggle aside, the 4th Dimension concert was packed with energy and excitement throughout. JLS were decked out in by-now obligatory “futuristic centurion” costumes to begin with, and changed into something slightly more Black Eyed Peas-meets-Michael Jackson along the way. The boys worked their way through an impressive and instantly recognisable collection of their hits, plus set pulses racing with a bunch of popular covers – a Chris Brown/Usher medley was particularly memorable.
But the highlight of the night – for me – was their incredible version of Labrinth’s Earthquake, which saw the boys decked out as Jedi knights and then doing some breathtaking wire-fighting against masked enemies. Kind of reminded me of some of the Batman Live fight sequences.
There was only one minor complaint from me: the boys relied too heavily on ballads, which drained the energy out of the show in places. One or two slow songs I can cope with, but JLS are phenomenal performers and they really excel at energetic dance routines and upbeat club songs. Still, none of that really took away from a seriously entertaining evening.
Stray observances: One of the boys has a ridiculously high singing voice! Not sure which one, but I’d be worried about helium damage. On another subject, does Aston have it written into his contract that his abs must be exposed at all times? In the space of one concert, he showed off more midriff than Shania Twain during her entire late 90s/early 00s heyday.