I was invited to cover the NYC debut of British-Irish girl group The Saturdays at the Highline last night, but wasn't sure I'd go. They're pretty and all, but without being familiar with their stuff, I didn't feel like it was a make-or-break event.
Still, I went. And I'm glad I went. They're perfectly named because they're as fun as a weekend and just about as deep. That's no insult; they're striving for escapism, except "striving" implies too unattractive an effort. They're simply, organically, as enjoyable as a smile.
First out was opener KERLI, whose "The Lucky Ones" and other dance hits were delivered with a Skipper-Doll-come-to-life exuberance by the barely-clad singer. (She was wearing fluorescent streamers over a fluorescent onesie under which a G-string and nothing else was visible.) Pumping her fists, she seduced the audience (especially the first few rows) with her blond audition.
The Saturdays—Frankie Sandford, Una Healy, Vanessa White, Rochelle Humes and Mollie King—came out and lined up, an abbreviated beauty contest and karaoke girls'-night-out in one. They're each different types but all easy on the eyes, and had the unique bonus of a member sporting a massive baby bump. (Humes, who would later toast her pregnancy with...soda.)
The ladies reminded me very much of a female version of The Wanted (they predate the boys, but the boys crossed paths with me first)—they shimmy on the stage and deliver easy grins and even easier-to-appreciate, pure-pop happy pills. Songs like "Up" and "Issues" (nonchalantly sung a cappella after a mix-up with a track that had a different girl's voice on it) make it clear why they're popular over there, and the success of the aforementioned The Wanted and also One Direction makes it clear why they'd now be pushing for popularity over here.
The most noteworthy thing about the night, though, was being surrounded by 17-year-olds and by 24-year-olds who feel like 17-year-olds. I honestly felt like the grandfather of the boy next to me, who breathlessly (and tipsily) discussed the group with his girlfriends, all the while flaunting his tat sleeves and taking pictures of random audience members who resembled their friends.
I felt like an "eldergay," a term some very-likely-unattractive young person used on a forum when discussing how my recent list of guys in porn was hopelessly prehistoric.
But I also remembered what it was like to be seeing a favorite band live for the first time; the crowd's enthusiasm, like KERLI and The Saturdays' poptastic energy, was contagious.