‘A Teletubby!’ screamed my friend. I followed her gaze, and there was indeed a purple Teletubby slowly sifting through the audience towards us. I was just glad that we were already in peak position, and that I prepared with my stockpile of evening’s drinks and wouldn’t be stuck behind the creature, unable to see the stage over the triangular antenna protruding from its head.
The Metro Theatre, March 15, 2012
I’d bought tickets for Aqua shortly after I’d bought the Vengaboys tickets, and in the weeks that followed, it became evident that everyone’s predictions about the 1990s revival about to happen were coming true. I’d also purchased tickets for Eiffel 65’s show with N-Trance as support (or maybe it is a double headline show.) I had been most excited about seeing Vengaboys but after merely hearing a recording of Dr. Jones, I felt sufficiently excited for Aqua. Clearly I was not alone, because joining me and the Teletubby was a sold-out Metro full of people, with a second show having sold out the night before, and a third on sale.
The support act were someone I had never heard of called Radio Ink. They claimed to be Australian, but their singer sported a stylish Old Glory-inspired suit and indeterminate accent. She was backed by two plain guys on laptops who occasionally held up signs asking for applause, which remarkably had significant effect on the audience. A lot of people seemed to appreciate their sound, and cheered wildly for what the band repeatedly billed as their ‘latest song from the radio,’ even though I hadn’t heard any, despite the vast amounts of radio I consume. All of this said, they weren’t such a bad band, but they didn’t do anything that wasn’t done before – and better – by Sneaky Sound System, and even at Sneaky Sound System shows, all I can do is mourn the loss Feyoncé’s former bands Machine Gun Fellatio and Primary.
After a few moments of the well received ‘work’ of a DJ playing a Hits Of The ’90s compilation, groups of girls started to complain.
‘This is stupid,’ one complained. ‘Why can’t another band come on?’
Eventually Aqua did come onto the stage, satisfyingly looking just like they did in 1997, although somewhat more grown up without their bright hair colours and clad in modern Green Day type outfits (save for Lene, who garnered the greatest applause, and wearing a fairly skimpy outfit.) Opening with something new, and perhaps darker and more power-chord heavy than the audience was expecting, the band followed up with Cartoon Heroes, one of the highlights of the evening. It was a surprisingly rocking show for a band known for bubble-gum pop and remembered by most for little more than novelty hits.
Another strange, but not unpleasant, new song was weirdly reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails’ Starfuckers, Inc., even borrowing lyrics, but remaining duet heavy, and referencing various other musical icons like the Rolling Stones and Ziggy Stardust. A bass and synth driven rendition of Turn Back Time was another highlight, affording Lene the opportunity to slink and drag herself around the stage, along with the surprise closer, the stand out of the night, We Belong To The Sea.
An unnecessary encore was disappointingly devoid of anything too interesting, but didn’t detract from what was an otherwise memorable and surprisingly dedicated, powerful show, promising to be the highlight of the slew of 1990s ‘Revival’ acts. Eiffel 65 and Hanson have a lot of live up to now.