Boys Like Girls
The Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
October 18, 2009
For having been only the second time seeing Boys Like Girls live in concert, I must say I was quite impressed with their stage etiquette. The foursome from Boston, Massachusetts conducted themselves in true boy band / rock star style. During the band’s encore, lead singer Martin Johnson took a moment to really listen to what the die hard fans smashed up against the barricade in the front row had to say to him and his bandmates. “What did you say? You want water?” Johnson asked his tween fans just two feet away from him. After signaling the quartet’s tour/stage manager to grab some water bottles, the two guys began throwing out the water that was surely going to be untouched. One water bottle was chucked so far it practically made it to the back of the balcony! It was nice to see a band who cared about the well-being of their fans, the majority of whom were most definitely dehydrated from standing in the front row since doors opened at 4:30pm. By the time the water was handed out, the clock read somewhere around 9:30pm. Johnson then acknowledged that what he was doing was in reality quite detrimental to the venue’s bar sales and proceeded to apologize saying, “Sorry bar.”
More photos of Boys Like Girls after the jump…
Set List / Chicago
I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas cover)
Five Minutes to Midnight
She’s Got a Boyfriend Now
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
Heart Heart Heartbreak
Two Is Better Than One
Heels Over Head
Someone Like You
The Great Escape
“This is the first song we ever wrote together,” admitted Johnson before Boys Like Girls launched into “Thunder.” The song is off the group’s debut album, the self-titled Boys Like Girls, which was released in August 2006. “Thunder” was also the third single off the band’s first record following the previous two singles “Hero/Heroine” and the mega smash hit that landed the band on the mainstream pop/punk/rock map “The Great Escape.” Boys Like Girls is currently performing around the country on their “Love Drunk” tour promoting sophomore release Love Drunk, which came out last month, more than three years after BLG’s first LP.
You would think that after three years of performing for millions of fans around the world, Johnson would have figured out how to maneuver his away around the stage. However, this was not evident at Chicago’s show last Sunday night at The Riviera Theatre. Johnson repeatedly kept walking over to stage right even though his microphone, being so near the stage right monitors, gave off horrible feedback. I’m not going to lie, I experienced a few “What the fuck?” moments where I pondered why Martin did what he did. Feedback hurts your ears, dude! With every wince, I silently cursed the Boys Like Girls frontman for putting me through the torture of being forced to hear that terrible high-pitched sound that no human being should be exposed to…
Boys Like Girls closed their set with “The Great Escape,” which has been the guys’ biggest radio hit single to date. “Get up here. Get them all up here,” shouted Johnson to female fans taking a chance at crowd surfing their way up to the front in hopes of touching the lead singer’s fingertips. When venue security guards refused to help or even allow fans to get on stage, Johnson (in my opinion) crossed the line and called one of the security guys a “piece of shit.” A few seconds later Martin gave it one last try and gave out the order: “Everybody get on stage!” I have to admit, what happened next was pretty cool to watch. All I remember is seeing kids everywhere around me rushing to get through the fans holding court in the general admission pit and onto the stage. Some people made it up there, some did not. When the guys finished playing “The Great Escape,” Johnson handed his guitar back to his guitar tech and stage dived directly into the pit. From there, he continued to be groped and supported by 15 year old girls while venue and tour security attempted to save his life from the hands of hormone-crazed tween fans.
New song “Heart Heart Heartbreak” could be considered Boys Like Girls’ effort at writing part two of “It’s My Life” by rock gods Bon Jovi. The track is the first song on Love Drunk, kicking off the band’s new album with a harder and heavier rock sound. However, though “Heart Heart Heartbreak” may be a decent attempt at the BLG boys desperately trying to become real men, the song simply appears to be a blatant rip-off of Bon Jovi’s worldwide smash hit. Of course, maybe if Boys Like Girls had the best pop songwriter in the world Max Martin co-writing songs with them, as Bon Jovi had with “It’s My Life,” then they too would have a worldwide hit single.
Another new song off the Love Drunk album “Two Is Better Than One” features country sweetheart Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, the audience at the Boys Like Girls concert this past weekend were not graced with Swift’s presence. When it came time to play “Two Is Better Than One,” the lead singer from one of the opening bands came out to sing Taylor’s verse. Apparently, Martin Johnson has written a few songs with Swift. After looking up Johnson on ASCAP’s online database, I discovered that he is the band’s main songwriter. Then curious, I searched for the song “Thunder” because Johnson claimed that it is the “first song we ever wrote together.” Umm, together? More like written by Martin Johnson and Martin Johnson alone. Sorry folks, but ASCAP does not lie when it comes to writing credits. Look it up for yourself here.
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