Forget everything you’ve heard about Hedley. Forget every song you've heard.
And if you’re one of those guys being dragged to the show because of a girl (and may your effort not be in vain) then just relax. Don't worry. It's a good show. It rocks harder than anything you'll hear from the band on grooveshark.com.
Say what you want about the lyrics, or the preteen crowd, or whatever other slight could be leveled at these guys.
Once the lights go down, and the guitars get plugged in, none of that matters.
They really are a rock band at heart, like the band members say, despite what comes out of the studio.
How can you tell? There was a drum solo. A good one, almost cinematic. Then dead, maybe stunned, silence.
Remember, this is a crowd where it's safe to announce what bar the band will be at later because 80 per cent are too young get in. Maybe they just aren’t used to hearing drum solos, and were unsure what to do after the initial applause.
After the silence — a couple of beats — out came the acoustic guitar and a new song.
Even the screaming fan behind me didn't know it. She just kept screaming ‘it’s a new one’ at me.
There’s a good chance it’s called ‘Long Way Down” if repetition is any clue. It has a guitar solo. Because this is a rock band.
Maybe it was the sheer volume or all the screaming fans packed into the curtained-off half of Mile One Centre Thursday night (tonight the show’s sold out) or maybe it was the way the band was obviously having such an good time, smiling and dancing around.
Whatever it was, Hedley entertained.
Watching singer Jake Hoggard hop around the stage like a rabbit taped to pogo sticks and juiced up on Pop Rocks, his kinetic personality really shone through.
The only time the guy stood still was when he had an acoustic guitar in his hands and had to stand in front of a microphone. Hoggard is full of energy and that makes him a blast to watch onstage.
One hand up in the air, backlit by a spotlight, leg off to the side in a classic rock pose, he brings the theatrics of Queen singer Freddie Mercury to mind. Or maybe it was just the moustache.
The band held it down, playing crowd favourites — at times it seemed like everyone in the place was singing — and new songs that were well received.
Guitarist Dave Rosin even rips off a solo on one of the new songs.
But the show was more than just a band on a stage.
It started with a video montage, with lights and sound.
A mid-concert interlude, a cheesy-good video skit, melded into an acoustic set.
They even brought out opening act Classified for the song “Invincible.”
That’s what the screaming girl told me it was called, anyway.
Speaking of Classified, he puts on a good show too. Raised on '90s hip hop, he’s proud of it and gave a nod to his roots with a cover of O.P.P.
For fans of hip hop, he’s one to go see.
For the rest, maybe those dragged unwilling to the show, remember you’re at a concert. Things could be a lot worse.
But they don’t get much better.
A typo in this story has been corrected