As the stage crew prep the equipment, blue neon lights dance over the expectant crowd. Camera phone flashes are going off and the screams of the fans are never more than a few seconds apart. Unsurprisingly, the audience is made up almost entirely of teenage girls – many of them chanting the teen singer’s name in unison while others break out into synchronised dance routines. The extent of their excitement and devotion becomes apparent when a roadie picks up a guitar and strums it for a sound check and the crowd responds with a wave of manic screams and applause.
When Cody Simpson finally appears on stage with his two musicians, the room lights up with phones raised skyward and the screams reach a dizzying new peak. He sports a bandana around his head and looks a world away from the boyish persona we might remember from his early music videos. The concert is an all-acoustic set and he opens with Sinkin’ In, a steady-paced number from his newest album. Musically, the trio are flawlessly tight and similarly Simpson’s vocals could not be faulted at any point in the performance. Lyrically the songs are generic, catering to a teenage audience; Simpson announces “tonight we’re going to sing to you about a little thing I like to call love!”. He certainly delivers on this promise, as almost every song features the word “baby” and some variation of “I miss you”. The content however doesn’t fail to engage the crowd who sing along to every song with fervent enthusiasm.
After warming up the audience, Simspon changes gear with an acoustic rendition of his hit song Wish You Were Here that charges along at a galloping pace and shifts the concert into full swing. From here we see him stand up and wield his mike stand like a samurai sword, take off his jacket and toss it away, and perform some slippery dance moves that remind of both Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. His stage presence is laudable and his ability to deliver crowd-pleasing moments cannot be denied. The all-acoustic set was a good opportunity for him to demonstrate his diverse musical ability and may indicate the hint of a desire to set himself apart from his manufactured, auto-tuned contemporaries.
Have you accepted Cody Simpleson as your personal saviour, ONTD?