V Factory, Menudo, NLT
Hosted by Mark & James
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – May 25, 2008
If you’re not into boy bands you might not have known that May 2008 marked the very first Bandemonium Tour created by none other than super manager, Johnny Wright. The tour starting in Las Vegas and ending in Orlando brought together three fresh young groups NLT (Geffen/TUG), V Factory (Warner Bro. Records), and Menudo (Epic) for 16 concert dates. Wright’s newest act, a non-boy band duo by the name of Mark and James, hosted the show. The dynamic duo not only got to showcase their music skills, but their comedy chops as well. The easy-going pair opened the show with their anecdotes of tour antics and friendly one-liners. Mark and James gave the audience a taste of their Acoustic/Pop Rock sound with the heartfelt “Letting Go” followed by the edgier, up-tempo “As You Are,” during which James taps into his inner rock star, drops to his knees and jams on his electric guitar, playing to the group of screaming girls at front of the stage.
Surrounding that stage was a venue more fitting for your weekend-night-out rock show than your summer-pop-boy band concert, but that’s exactly what it was, and one could easily pick out the mega fans from the tag-along friends or the chaperoning parents. The mega fans were the ones down in the mosh pit, screaming at the top of their lungs, reaching for dear life towards the stage, singing the songs, and even doing the choreography with the bands. The venue wasn’t packed by any means but there was certainly no shortage of performance vigor on the part of the bands, who performed as if the crowd was full of several hundred people. Each band performed seven songs.
V Factory took the stage first. During the group’s set the songs “Round and Round,” “These Are the Days” and “She Bad,” (featuring E.40) were the major crowd pleasers. The three songs are featured on the group’s MySpace page and the V Factory EP. The group’s performance of the song “Treat a Lady,” however, was probably the tightest of the night. While choreography and vocals were sketchy at certain points during the set, the group hit a home-run with the tracks themselves. To anyone who wasn’t shaking their booty while V Factory was performing my advice would be to take two fingers, place them on your neck, and make sure that you are still breathing.
NLT was up next, opening their set with the new single “Karma” produced by friend Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). The group followed up with a medley that included their very first single “That Girl,” “Heartburn,” (Bratz Motion Picture Soundtrack), and the southern hip-hop tinged “Do it Like I love it,” saying to the crowd at the start of the medley “sing along if you know it.” An instruction the fans gladly followed. NLT definitely wins the award for most audience interaction during the show, at one point sectioning off the audience to see which side could scream the loudest, inviting four girls to party with them after the show (a ploy used to hype up the crowd, and it works), and even calling two lucky ladies up on stage to be serenaded during their ballad “Rose.” The guys really played it up during the song, holding the girls’ hands as they sing to them and dancing with them on stage. The group then performed the beat heavy song “Better,” a track unheard by fans prior to the tour, before closing the set with their most popular track “She Said I said,” produced by Timbaland. Vocals were on target and NLT’s choreography was arguably the best of the three bands.
If fans standing in the crowd near the stage thought their ears were ringing during the NLT set, they should have prepared for a busted eardrum when Menudo stepped on stage in their black and metallic hoodies and masks. It seemed most of the fans were there for the Hispanic quintet; after all, this was South Florida (third largest Hispanic market in the country). In the spirit of South Florida Menudo performed an additional song in Spanish. As with all previous shows the band opened their set with the dance track “Move,” which had the crowd doing just that. It could be argued that Menudo had the strongest, most energetic performances of the night. With the group performing tracks like “Echo,” “More Than Words,” and “Midnight,” the audience couldn’t help but dance. Menudo closed the show with their first single “Lost,” undoubtedly the most anticipated song of the evening. Overall, the band performed like old pros and there was no shortage of scream inducing gyration or sensual body rolls. In fact, between V Factory, NLT, and Menudo the stage was covered in sexually suggestive gestures and dance moves that left the girls screaming for more.
The Bandemonium concert was definitely a fan’s dream come true, allowing concert goers the opportunity to meet all of the acts at meet and greets before and after the show. The only disappointment of the night was the lack of a sold out venue worthy of the Bandemonium title. The show was a blast, and did I mention this reporter was one of the mega fans? That’s right, down in the mosh pit, screaming with the best of them.
– Shakeitta McCord
Shakeitta, one of the lucky girls called on stage during NLT’s “Rose”.