Headlines Tour Review – Hammersmith Apollo – 17th February 2011

Review from The Guardian

With Girls Aloud apparently defunct, The Saturdays are Britain’s biggest girlband by default. Yet few apart from dedicated fans can name any of their eight top 10 hits, and even a merger with the UK’s top boyband, JLS, in the form of a romance between Rochelle Wiseman and Marvin Humes, has failed to elevate them to household-name status. Judging by this gig, though, the Saturdays themselves are to blame: they’re bent on presenting themselves as a single faceless unit, with individual personalities firmly suppressed. If there’s an incipient Cheryl Cole, you can’t pick her out.

ut they’re headlining the Apollo for a reason, which is that girlbands are thin on the ground these days, and, however nondescript the Saturdays are, they’ve got the basics nailed. With their long legs and short, sparkling dresses, they’re a sight to make 12-year-old fans squeak with admiration; moreover, they’re adept at dancing in stupidly high heels, and if their singing errs on the side of X-Factor-contestant shrillness, it doesn’t stop you from discreetly tapping a toe to electro-thumpers like Issues and Up. Surely, though, it’s gilding the lily to have Una Healy strum a guitar during Died in Your Eyes – there’s no need to convince us of their musical credibility when it’s already so evident.

They plump out the show with extras, such as taking photos of the audience “for our Facebook page” and showing videos of themselves being quintessential girls next door – we see Vanessa White failing her driving test, and someone squealing about Sex and the City on a New York trip. There’s also a Rihanna medley that mainly reminds us Rihanna has some cracking songs. And that’s about it. This is girl-pop for the OMG generation: trashy and low-rent, but diverting enough to raise a smile.

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