Review // Party in the Park 2012 – One Direction / Marcus Collins / Stooshe
It’s been a fair few years since Radio Aire cannily bandwagoned the gig-in-posh-grounds setup and launched Party in the Park. The day-long concert at Temple Newsam has since garnered pop fans in their thousands and secured its reputation as a celebration of chart revelry. Festooned with circlet-wearing teenagers, Sunday’s event didn’t fail to deliver. Leeds Student picks three of the day’s most memroable acts…
Sidling into view to a cacophony of squeals, the handsome five-piece kicked off with One Thing, the first of an abrupt salvo of hits they delivered before being whisked off to Florida to record. Whilst it is Harry Styles and Liam Payne – the pudding-bowled, second-time-lucky auditionee from Wolverhampton – that usually carry the vocals, all five members sang solos in this song, with Zayn ceding his chance to croon a line or two in order to accrue the lion’s share of the ad-libs at the end. The song was conducted with steady aplomb, the boys clearly adept at whipping up screams while their bandmates sang their bit. The second song Up All Night from the eponymous album was barely audible above the implacable crowd, who – granted – were still reeling from Styles’ pontificating about the ‘amazing’ atmosphere and Niall Horan’s unexpected chants of Yorkshire! Yorkshire! The band closed with their number one hit What Makes You Beautiful, gathering for the chorus then scattering themselves across the stage to incite further screams from all sides. Vocals-wise, their short set was impressive, with the odd choreographic mishap (Payne was at one point left to lollop over to the rest of them after what appeared to be an impromptu decision to dance around the guitarist) failing to detract from its overall success.
Exploding onto the stage replete with vigorous arm waves and pearly white teeth, X-Factor runner- up #2, the ebullient, neatly-coiffeured Marcus Collins, asked the crowd in his trademark Scouse lilt if they were ‘doin’ alright’ before launching into his cover of Seven Nation Army. Well-versed in chanting the famous bass riff – if not because of the single’s initial popularity then certainly as a result of Euro 2012 – the 70,000-strong crowd seemed to relish the set, egged on by Collins’ encouraging them to ‘dance around and enjoy themselves’. His charming demeanour and polite exhortations made for an enjoyable set, his crystalline vocals outshining those of past rivals Little Mix whose tuning suffered a little later on in the day. Finishing with Higher and Higher, his most popular cover from last year’s live shows, Collins seems to have shied away from showcasing more of the retro-pop tracks from his new album, opting instead to play it safe with a guaranteed crowd- pleaser. Though the set was a little predictable, and perhaps a tad corny, Collins’ pop-soul voice and humble smile made sure it steered well clear of cruise ship territory.
Undoubtedly delivering one of the most enjoyable sets of the day, motley three-piece Stooshe are surely tipped for big things. Despite being the third act on stage, the girls demonstrated their higher place in the pecking order by unfurling a series of pop gems too-long cloistered in the caverns of chart mastery. Responding to a summer of bland Rita Ora tracks, the group have spent these last months revelling in the success of hits Love Me and Black Heart, deploying both in rapid succession to a thrilled crowd. If the lyrics have undergone a good edit – Love me was originally called Fuck me – the girls’ feisty attitude was a mainstay in their set. They may have been plucked from a Topshop queue and thrown together just over a year ago, but the girls perform as if they’ve been together for years, exuding charisma that is testament to their chemistry and individuality. With Girls Aloud in the abyss and Sugababes no doubt conducting their annual recruitment drive, Stooshe could fill a gap in the market if today’s performance is anything to go by.
Rating : 7/10
Words : Rosie Driffill