Live Review: 5 Seconds of Summer

SSE Hydro – 19/4

I could easily bore you with journalistic clichés (“5 Seconds of Summer, so called ‘cos that’s how long you can bear to listen to them” etc.), a Fantano-esque 400 word review consisting purely of the word ‘no’, or a confused puddle of prose desperately talking about anything but a 5 Seconds of Summer concert, but that simply wouldn’t do justice to what we were subjected to on Bicycle Day 2016. Bicycle Day, interestingly, is not a designated day for the appreciation of eco-friendly two-wheeled transport, but in fact a commemoration of the very first acid trip in 1943. The Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 micrograms (12.5x the threshold dose) of lysergic acid diethylamide to try to discover its true effects, five years after first synthesising it in Basel. Predictably he started experiencing “sudden and intense changes in perception” within the hour, and asked his lab assistant to escort him home. Since the Second World War was in full swing at this point, there were restrictions on motor vehicle use, so they were forced to use a bicycle. On the way back, Hofmann started having a bad trip, experiencing “feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbour was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him”. However, when the doctor called he found nothing wrong with him except for “a pair of incredibly dilated pupils”, and, feeling reassured, Hofmann began to enjoy being the first person ever to drop acid, and this significant scientific discovery is celebrated in psychedelic circles on every 19th o- perhaps due to some subconscious instinct to stay far, far away, we arrived at the Hydro more than halfway through 5SOS’s set. We can admit this freely and without shame. Having images of a literal horde of screaming tweens kept from collapsing by obviously terrified parents, it was a bit odd to be shuffled by a betorchèd usher into a dome filled with neat rows of screaming tweens, like a New World Order youth branch party conference spiralling violently out of control.

The doctors couldn’t find anything physically wrong with us either, and while the nightmares and flashbacks have persisted, we’ve actually found ourselves more and more at peace with our state, even beginning to enjoy the unprecedented colours and plays of shapes that persist behind our closed eyes: kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surging in, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in coloured fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux…* 5 Seconds of Summer’s quite literally poptastic No.1 album Sounds Good Feels Good available at your local record store or Woolworths now.

[Ciaran McQueen –@_delariene]

*This article employs elements of Albert Hofmann’s writings on lysergic acid diethylamide.

‘We are dead, it killed us’ – Ciaran McQueen following the performance

Image by and of Ciaran McQueen (with Nour El-Issa, seen upside-down)

Do you ever just remember that time passes? Ever just concentrate really hard, trying to get time to skip forward or move at an accelerated pace?

As we stepped into the Hydro, time began to slow exponentially. Seconds crawled into minutes, walked into hours and sprinted into aeons. We suffered at a snail’s pace, and with all of the ironic intensity of a blind photographer or deaf pianist. We had been complacent enough to dedicate time to arguing about music during the happy period of our lives, and here we were, at the mercy of the artistic Void that argued naught and merely consumed us with a godless fervour.

Looming above us were the saccharine smiles of the 5SOS lads staring down at us from immense screens, like Big Brother but incomparably more terrible. Staring directly through my soul with a caustic gaze that eroded the very fabric of my ego and identity; some guy from New Zealand who makes more money than I ever will. Karl Marx would’ve had something to say about that, I’m sure.

Ever since the show I haven’t felt right. I am old now, and can no longer recognise my face in the mirror. In fact, I have broken several mirrors since that fateful day, in desperation – trying to find the decrepit soul that has inhabited me from that day forth and which I cannot find an outward trace of anywhere. It is most loud when things are most silent, as most personal demons are.

•         •         •         •         •

five seconds of summer
four days of spring
three years of autumn
two centuries of bleakest winter
an eternity of    torture  a deep and unsettling otherness
the abyss  screaming with no end in sight psychic malaise existential doubt  internalised rage divine anger

                                                  nice things

•         •         •         •         •

thank you 5SOS, thanks for 
getting up on stage
and singing
and playing your

It was still better than I thought it would be.

[Nour El-Issa – @dimredspectre]

Cover Image: Music Times

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