March 11, 2001
The Westlife Support Act Allstars: London Wembley Arena
Reel, Fixate, Masai and Bellefire whip the crowd into a frenzy...
There was a time when #12.50 bought you a PJ & Duncan gig ticket and unknowns Backstreet Boys and the utterly ace Deuce as supports. But that was 1996 and as 2001 offers boyband magic in Westlife, the stakes are higher (well, the prices are raised) but the extras talent has nose-dived. Just take a look at this lot...
WHO ARE THEY? Gary, Phillip, Matthew and twins Joseph and Colin aka the band who somehow robbed Boom! of the Smash Hits Best New Tour Act award. Playing 15 instruments between them they fuse Celtic humdrum with pop to offer, they say, "Music of The Corrs and vocals of Westlife". Obviously someone forgot to tell them that no-one under 50 appreciates this thought. That individual is also likely to be to blame for not plugging their instruments in. Ooh, naughty.
WHAT'S THEIR BEST SONG? Credit where it's due. 'Come On Eileen', that karaoke fave, gets churned out in a footstompin' hillbilly fashion that NMEPOP.COM's grandad would be proud of. But covers always go down well...
THE NEW: Carter Twins/Proclaimers, with extra members. Twins, oldies sounds, Smash Hits awards, it's all too spooky.
WHO ARE THEY? Dodgily dressed lad band starring Christian 'I used to be a solo artist' Fry, a Shaun Ryder grumble faced bloke carrying a cane like Biff in 'Back To The Future 2', a twit in a string vest, an out-of-place guitar player and a Glaswegian called Justin. 'The Fame Game', anyone?
WHAT'S THEIR BEST SONG: 'I Will Be There' is an early BSB-friendly ballad which lightens up the mood after the medieval spooky tinkerings of the forthcoming single 24/7 leaves NMEPOP.COM shuddering - and cringing at the same time.
THE NEW? Funnily enough there's no-one like them around. That's because 'Popstars' manufactured a band with decent, songs, looks, dance routines and... Shall we continue?
WHO ARE THEY? The latest package off the Louis Walsh supermarket of pop conveyor belt. With Westlife creaming the boyband sector, Walsh has got his grubby mitts on four girls to step into All Saints' Nikes.
WHAT'S THEIR BEST SONG? Well we know the single's called 'Perfect Bliss' but you'll be hard pushed to decipher which harmony goes with what song, they all blend together so nicely.
THE NEW: Aye it's B*Witched crossed with Billie minus the helium voices and Pineapple dance moves. Hell, one of 'em even looks like Lindsay. Now Hear'say have torn up the manufactured band rulebook, these lot could learn a thing or two. Japanese water torture did you say, Nigel?
WHO ARE THEY? Geri from 'Hollyoaks' mirror images who became bezzie chums while working at Cafe De Paris. They have skills in acoustic, mid-tempo tunes - more girls next door than ones to pop ya collar.
WHAT'S THEIR BEST SONG ? 'Heaven And Hell', the debut single, jumps into your brain and bounces about quite happily trying to bury into your consciousness but by the time of 'If I Let You Go', it's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone in a same old not brand new at all stylee. Enjoyable nonetheless.
THE NEW: Fred & Roxy.
So a warning to anyone going to see Westlife. They're amazing. The supports aren't. Time for a swift vodka then. You'll need it to get through the first hour.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday