“Are you ready to Get Weird?”, the screen onstage asks a frenzied Newcastle audience, made up mostly of young fans who seem to have died and gone to pop music heaven. Little Mix? Weird? Maybe not. Fresh, fun, fierce and a fistful of other superlatives – absolutely.
In the same week that All Saints announced their first tour in over a decade and more Spice Girls reunion rumours began to swirl, Little Mix brought their own very modern brand of girl power to the Metro Radio Arena. It was a raucous homecoming for Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, who hail from South Shields. The pair, along with Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Ann Pinnock, clearly revelled in being back in the North East, taking any opportunity to interact with fans.
In a set list that includes songs both old and new, as well as some unexpected covers from Beyonce, Justin Bieber and the Spiced ones themselves, the audience are reminded of how many hits the band have had in the short five years since their X Factor win. DNA finds the girls in an enchanted forest, whereas their biggest song Black Magic is, in my opinion, one of the best pop tracks of the last decade and it’s even better live. Other highlights include rabbit-headed dancers sashaying across the stage and a drag queen taxiing the girls from the forest to ‘Club Weird’ where they unleash hits like Salute and Get Weird, head-to-toe in sequins. Missy Elliot appears in video form for How Ya Doin? and a Drake mashup keeps things flowing nicely.
Far from being just another manufactured girl band, these four have talent in abundance. Their vocal gymnastics are impressive and their harmonies are in sync throughout, standing out especially in penultimate number, acapella track The End.
Perrie recently defended their sexed-up tour outfits (“Some of us are 24. We aren’t going to be able to wear stuff like this for the rest of our life”) and it is clear the ladies are unapologetic about growing up. At times it does feel a bit too mature for their target audience but, thus is the nature of the music industry beast – you can’t keep ’em young and innocent forever. Their young fans didn’t seem to mind at all – a young lad in front of me sang and danced his way through the gig, all touchingly encouraged by his dad, who was all too happy to encourage his son. Our editor’s tweet about the pair garnered (and is continuing to get) quite a bit of attention!
“Don’t you know that I’m grown now,” the lyrics to one of their Get Weird album tracks go. Idolised by their fans, Little Mix may be grown, but they’re still a perfectly-formed pop phenomenan, here for the duration.
The Get Weird tour is next in until August 27. For tickets, click here.