New pop upstarts Boom! just about have the edge over the going-stale cheese of Steps...
It’s the only way for an adult to enjoy Steps live: in the UK’s most popular gay club, surrounded by happy homosexuals high on aftershave and alcopops. The DJ fades out a cheesy pop tune, there’s a whiff of amyl nitrate, and support act Boom! take to the stage for a 12-minute, three-song set.
The only one of the three songs anyone (vaguely) knows is ‘Falling’, their debut single that looks to hit the upper reaches of the charts this weekend. It’s a crowd-pleaser with a garage vibe, but the other tracks they do tonight are production-line bland.
Boom! are good-looking boys and girls who look like they’ve just left ‘Hollyoaks’ to form a pop group. Of course, no-one’s looking at the girls tonight, but tongues loll out whenever the boys shake their groove thing or wiggle their backsides.
Their future as popsters hangs in the balance at the moment (will the second single be an S Club-size hit or a Scooch-style flop?), but if ever these reportedly straight lads opt to sit on the other side of the church they’ll never be short of dates.
Now it’s time for Steps and, since they’ve played G.A.Y so many times before, everyone in the packed-like-sardines crowd knows what they’ll be getting. Recent hits like ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Stomp’, older hits like ‘Last Thing On My Mind’, and ‘5-6-7-8’ nowhere within earshot. (They hate it, apparently.)
It’s a typically energetic half hour, done with the usual professionalism and enthusiasm and, yes, some of the singing is live. Trouble is, Steps are trying to turn down the cheese and none of their newer songs have dance routines that can be easily copied. So long as they still do ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Better The Devil You Know’ they’ll still be G.A.Y. favourites, but getting serious could pose a serious threat to their position as the perfect accessory to tight t-shirts and poppers.