The last all ages event I was at was my secondary school disco and I only got to go because my Mum was taking the money at the door. Thankfully, all ages events have moved on from that.
I entered the venue to deafening screams, no not for me, for the support act, BeatBullyz. The teenage hordes, arms waving in the air, obeying their every command. The audience was about 95% young females, a few boyfriends, some older ladies and a few Mums chilling at the no alcohol bar.
BeatBullyz are a Uk based Hiphop group with pop sensibilities and are in fact really really good. Live, the group had drums, bass, a scratch DJ and two frontmen. Bully, who also doubles up on keys and the unfortunately named, but insanely popular Bozo. A Minotaur, yes, a male dancer with a bull mask, also appears on stage.
These guys were exactly what the teenage audience wanted and when Bozo took off his shirt, I wouldn’t be surprised if the local hospitals were put on stand by. The band worked their way through the dancey ‘Skillz’, ‘Bounce’, (guess how the audience reacted) before finishing with ‘Human Nature’ an upbeat anthem with very U2 sounding drums and bass. Knowing how to work a crowd is one thing, having them in the palm of your hand, hanging on every syllable is another. Beatbullyz write catchy hiphop/pop songs that transfer really well and have a full live sound. Very impressive, I’d go see them again.
The screams for Bozo’s ripped chest were just dying down as the ‘Jason’ chants start. Derülo enters the stage accompanied by some futuristic sounding effects and flashing lights. Saying the sound was poor during the first track ‘the Sky’s the limit’ would be an understatement. Derülo’s ear worn microphone was sounded tinny and way too low but the packed to the rafters crowd were too busy screaming their little heads off.
Thankfully over the next couple of songs the sound improved. A number of scantily clad (always wanted to use that) dancers managed to dance their way across the stage during ‘Whatcha Say’. By the time the first notes of ‘Love Hangover’ were heard, proper sound had been restored.
Derülo can dance, the Academy though doesn’t have the biggest stage for dancers. He made the most of it though also using the safety barriers to his advantage.
At the moment though, Jason Derülo is suffering greatly from only having one album of material. He leaves the stage on a few occasions and the audience are treated to covers of the Black Eyed Peas and those dancers are at it again. The young audience seem to be confused at points throughout the show because of this. While Derülo did a decent acoustic version of ‘Ridin Solo’ and a rocked up ‘In My head’, the audience singalongs were at the original pacing.
Before ‘What If’, the crowd are teased and asked who would like to come on stage with the great man. Mid way though, a shell shocked teenage girl is plucked from the crowd and serenaded to by Derülo.
Derülo returns to the stage in a Irish jersey, while the old cynical me can see the marketing, his adoring fans scream approval. This lends itself to the obligatory Olé Olé Olé. A cover of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ with Derülo playing drums at the front of the stage goes down well before another costume chang.
A large mirror on stage is used to great visual effect. Lit like a dressing room mirror with lights all around, Derülo sings into it for parts of the song ‘Encore’. The audience finally get what they are looking for when a familiar ‘Ridin’ Solo’ starts, getting the best reaction of the night. Choruses of ‘Jaaaassooon Derulo’ (did I mention he even said it himself) echo around the venue before an encore of ‘In My Head’. Great song to choose to end the night on.
After a rocky start, it was a solid performance, a few more hits in the bag and a little work on making his live vocals a bit stronger and Jason Derülo will be a force to be reckoned with. An enjoyable night out.
1. The Sky’s The Limit 2. Whatcha Say 3. Love Hangover 4. Got a Feeling (Band) 5. Ridin’ Solo (acoustic) 6. In My Head (rock version) 7. Fallen 8. Blind 9. What If 10. Dancers mix 11. When Doves Cry 12. Encore 13. Ridin’ Solo 14. In My Head