They came, they saw, they played and they conquered. Not only was US pop duo MKTO in Australia for their superstar turn closing the TV Week Logie Awards last weekend (performing their smash ‘Thank You’), but they also played a handful of headline shows – one each in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
But with the tour now all over and the band headed for sunnier shores, the lovely Brad once again popped out with his reviewer cap on for a look at the MKTO live experience.
Mr Henderson has come a long way since he came second on last year’s ‘X Factor’. From his opening number (a rousing cover of Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’) he had the crowd happily singing along.
Taylor’s voice was a bit raspy throughout his opening set but nevertheless quite strong, and he even threw in a bit of fancy footwork to enhance his stage persona.
Indeed, the biggest contrast between this performance and last year’s, at ‘X Factor Live’, was that Taylor is clearly more comfortable interacting with the crowd. He cracked jokes in between songs, even when they booed the mention of his girlfriend!
The career of an X Factor finalist may be fleeting (refer to The Collective’s lacklustre reception at Jessica Mauboy’s November concert) but Taylor, with his cheeky persona and melody-laden hits, is on the right path to forging lasting success.
Let’s face it, not many acts appeal to both the young guys and girls of the tweenage crowd. Girls have their Bieber and 1D whereas the boys are head-banging to Avicii or the newest rock act. MKTO are able to blur these lines with their clean-cut appeal and nonconformist attitude.
Whilst this limits the band’s ability to attract groupies, it does provide an energetic crowd for their debut Melbourne show. Their young fanbase remained standing throughout the band’s set, quite the feat considering they’ve only had three hits on the ARIA charts so far.
Malcolm and Tony kicked things off with album highlight ‘Could Be Me’, reminding us how killer their debut album was. The audience was particularly enthusiastic as the boys performed new single ‘American Dream’, singing along word for word.
The band’s stage design was relatively simple, with just a pair of African drums to add some edge. The boys played them a couple of times but it seemed a bit gimmicky.
Lead singer Tony seemed to be suffering from a cold of some sorts, as he was unable to hit the high notes in ‘Heartbreak Holiday’ or ‘Classic’ but his solo, ‘Wasted’, was so heartfelt that it made up for the vocal let-down.
Speaking of ‘Heartbreak Holiday’, we weren’t impressed that the boys asked fans to wave their phones in the air. We think fans are so busy recording shows on their iPhones that they forget to just enjoy the concert in the moment. Sadly, after the song ended, many fans kept recording on their phones, substituting an authentic concert experience for instagram videos.
Despite this, and the incessant shout-outs to ‘Melbourne!” the boys delivered a classic show (sorry- couldn’t help it).
We especially liked the encore, which included the EDM-inspired ‘I Get My Way’, foreshadowing a future direction for the promising duo. As expected (considering it’s their biggest hit and the name of the tour), the band ended their set with ‘Thank You’. This PG rebel anthem was the highlight of the show, receiving a Bieber-esque response from the eager crowd.
Whilst the show probably should have been longer (clocking in at just over 70 minutes), we’ll give the boys the benefit of the doubt as they’ve only got the one album.
Plus, a 9.30pm finish means the kids got plenty of rest for school the next day!