Watching the Evolution of 5SOS

By: Faith Hendrick

I have a lot of favorite bands, but the one band that I have been a fan of, for over a decade, is the Australian Pop- Alt band, 5 Seconds of Summer. 5SOS formed when I was 11 years old, I had been watching their lead, Luke Hemmings, perform covers on his personal youtube channel for a while before the band formed. When they started to get big, I wasn’t able to get any concert tickets to their shows, as they were a bit too expensive.

I had wanted to see my favorite band perform for almost nine years. After they finished their tour for their second album, Sounds Good Feels Good, they took a bit of a break from touring and releasing new music. 5SOS didn’t release a new single until February 22nd, 2018, almost three years after the release of Sounds Good Feels Good. With the release of their new single, “Want You Back,”came the release of a new tour.

5SOS photographed by Faith Hendrick

They released tickets for pre-sale a few days after the single came out. I was determined to get a ticket to this show. Fans, including myself and my friends were really excited because we would be seeing them in a very small venue, so regardless of the distance, we would still be pretty close to them. For people in San Diego, we would be seeing them at the House Of Blues. I was so ecstatic when I got my ticket for the show. I actually ended up crying on the phone to my mum.

When the show came about, it was really exciting to be able to see the beginning of a new 5 Seconds Of Summer era. We would hear a lot of unreleased songs from their album that was due to be released that June. My friends and I skipped our last school classes of the day so that we would be able to head down to the venue early. We got to the House Of Blues at least seven hours before the doors opened for the show, but there was already a line wrapped around the building. It was crazy to hear some of the other fans’ stories about how early they got there. One of the fans was telling me how she drove for two straight days so that she could get there by 1:00AM for the show. She was so excited that she didn’t realize, until her friend pointed it out, that she was driving right next to the band on the freeway!

Once we were inside and at a good spot, we all waited another two hours for the boys to come on stage. The whole set was about an hour and a half long, it was a pretty short show. Overall, I think it was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever gone to.

The day after the show I was extremely sad that it was over. I was already waiting for the next time I would be able to see them. To my surprise, the boys were already planning their next tour.

5SOS photographed by Faith Hendrick

That same year, in October, I was getting ready to see them play again. I left midday and hung out with my cousin Farah on the college campus the show was being held at. Later on my friend Lindsay met us down there as well. We saw three big black cars pull in, and I remember making a slight joke about the boys being in the cars. Little did we know my joke was actually true. We had been sitting on a bench right next to one of the cars that happened to have Ashton Irwin and Calum Hood in the back seat. The three of us were so upset once the car pulled away from where we were sitting and we realized that they were in the back, we didn’t wave or anything. After that, we decided to walk around a little bit and we saw a third car pull in. This time, we didn’t want to blow any other chances so we went to join a small crowd of fans that also had the idea of waiting to see who would come out. Sure enough, Michael Clifford, the bands’ lead guitarist, got out with his fiance and dog. Lindsay and I were so excited that instead of waving, or calling his name, we stood there like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, hitting each others arms in shock.

Later that night, we were at our seats composing ourselves as best as we could before the show started. Though they didn’t play some of my favorite songs from their older music, they nonetheless blew me away. It’s crazy that in just a few months, their vocals changed so much. I took notice of the little things. How Michael sang more at this show, his voice bending in ways that I didn’t know it could. I noticed how Calum was able to hit higher notes than I’ve ever heard him sing before. Ashton’s voice sounded more grown up, his voice sounded a bit raspier as he sang. Luke had longer runs than he did before, all in all the band just got better.

I also took notice of how they all kept the crowd so alive. Nearly every fan in the whole stadium was on their feet, dancing the whole time. They have a great stage presence which I was very happy about.

Their music off of the record for that tour, Youngblood, was very different than all of the other music they had released in the past. It has more of a pop sound to it, though the lyrics hold more feelings to them. They definitely came back strong!

After seeing them for the second time in October, they took a short break from touring to regroup and write. They came out with a new hit single, “Easier,” on May 23rd of 2019. This single was by far the most different sound I’ve heard from them.

Unlike the Sounds Good Feels Good and Youngblood era’s, “Easier” sounded more alt-indie. It reminded me of something that The 1975 or Conan Gray would sing, and it was EPIC. Later in 2019, the band also released a song with The Chainsmokers. Now this was a collaboration I don’t think any of us saw coming, but it was definitely one we needed. “Who Do You Love” came out on February 7th, 2019 and it was amazing. Let me tell you, no one could ever make the word ‘conspicuous’ sound as good as Luke Hemmings does.

After their new song dropped, they announced another tour! This time, supporting The Chainsmokers. Lennon Stella was also an opener for the two groups. 5 Seconds of Summer was on a roll in 2019. The guys, yet again, released another single called “Teeth.” This song had become my personal favorite of the three new ones they had put out. It had a sort of halloween-esque vibe to it. I couldn’t wait to be able to hear it live. In November of 2019, I was on my way to see them again for the third time.

Arriving at the venue at 1:00 in the morning, spending over 16 hours in line, this ended up being the best show that I have been to in a while. Getting there early in the morning had given me the advantage of getting a good spot in line so I could make it to the front when they let us inside. Every cold hour paid its dues since I got barricade.

Being able to be up close to your favorite band and watch them do what they’ve dreamed of doing is a completely different feeling. It was crazy to be so close and to be able to clearly see the joy on their faces. There wasn’t a single moment where the whole crowd was not moving. Even if you didn’t physically move, it was so full that the crowd would be moving you.

I felt a little weird seeing as I wasn’t really there to watch the headlining group, but I had a great time. I met a few new friends and all in all was once again blown away by the band’s improvement. They seem to get better every time they perform.

There were many tears shed that night but also tons of smiles. I can’t wait to see what 5 Seconds of summer has in store for us next.