Squeals for boy bands at the Linc

Posted: August 16, 2014

When your night begins with a subway ride filled with screaming young girls and their happily hollering mothers, you know what you're in for: Wednesday's meeting of Great Britain's platinum-plated boy band, One Direction, and Australia's power-pop sensations, 5 Seconds of Summer, at Lincoln Financial Field.

The first of two sold-out shows continued Thursday, surely with the same level of cheery mayhem in the stadium as well as the subway.

For the most part, you got what all the yelling and crying (several young girls were in tears) was all about. Each act - 1D and 5SOS - featured heartthrobs whose vocal skills could easily find them with solo careers.

One Direction (Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, and Harry Styles, recipient of the loudest adulation) started with the bang of fireworks and never stopped popping, mugging, and smiling despite what seemed like monitor problems. Using a ramp attached to a second stage like a catwalk, 1D rolled back and forth like models while singing such chipper hits as "Rock Me" and the Clash-copying "Live While We're Young." Before launching into the glammy "Why Don't We Go There?" Styles (who started the song) said something about the audience smelling great, perhaps in reference to 1Ds new fragrance "You & I"

Having single 1D members begin a song with the others following was better than the boy-band harmonizing in unison from the start, say on the chantlike "Midnight Memories" and its "do-it-do-it" chorus. Having to work toward lush harmonies - building, then hitting them - was much more effective, and with truly soulful results on the slower, acoustic-based likes of "Through the Dark," "Little Things," and "Moments."

Though hardly a competition, 5SOS (drummer Ashton Irwin, bassist Calum Hood, guitarists Luke Hemmings and Michael Clifford) managed more ramshackle energy, catchier tunes, and individual vocal prowess than 1D. Fusing Green Day-like pop-punk with harmonic boy-band luster, sprightly tunes like "Don't Stop" and "Heartache on the Big Screen" simply bristled. If Styles is 1D's darling, wiggly eyebrowed 5SOS bassist Hood seemed the crowd favorite, especially when the ensemble slowed things down for the woozy "Amnesia."

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