Culture, Music

Scouting for Girls @ Albert Hall review – A fresh take on a classic catalogue

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Featured image and gallery: Josie Hunt

Celebrating 15 years since their 2007 self-titled debut album, London-based indie pop band Scouting for Girls take their fans on a journey of fun, friendship and nostalgia with sold-out birthday tour at Manchester’s Albert Hall showcasing the band’s strong catalogue of success.

The onstage arrangement is simple yet fun, with an effective SFG in purple lights behind, creating a welcoming feel for fans, with band members taking a corner of the stage each to engage all parts of the audience. The lads made everyone feel at home right away, three songs in and Roy Stride was running around the audience with a selfie stick getting some POV video footage and having a laugh singing with fans, getting the crowd hyped, making the show a proper entertaining evening right from the beginning.

The birthday tour screams nostalgia for millennial fans who have grown up with Scouting for Girls, the 15 song setlist is fitting: 15 years, 15 songs. However, the band surprised us with the classic use of a two-song encore, adding to the buzz the classic Manchester venue was holding.

The 15th anniversary tour celebrates the classic songs from the debut album such as ‘heartbeat’ and ‘posh girls’ and travels through to finish on another favourite ‘Elvis isn’t dead’ and cleverly adding a short aspect of Elvis’ ‘can’t help falling in love’ for some added excitement.

Entering the encore Stride joyfully got us all in the festive spirit with ‘Xmas in the 80s’, which had to be done considering it was December 1st. Finally, the big finale, might be obvious to some older fans, but never gets old ‘she’s so lovely’ to finish a fantastic performance. The song that shot SFG into success.  

Frontman Stride was boasting both his keys and a piano behind to create a well-known SFG Jangle sound used in the original tracks. Bassist Greg Churchouse uses two raised platforms either side of stage to hype the crowd to the max and get everyone moving when he tears up the basslines. Peter Ellard shined too as the one keeping the band in check with his impeccable rhythm throughout the show.

Elsewhere in the gig, there was also a nod to the present with the inclusion of one new song in the set from the new EP ‘B-sides and Rarities’. The fact only one new song was played was a nice nod to the audience and shows the band know what we all wanted to hear, we must respect the bands generosity here and ensure the new tunes get streamed too.

Musically, Stride and bandmates demonstrate an impressive range of pop and indie, mixing it with soft rock, upbeat pop, and some classic soft love songs. It is almost impossible not to catch on to a classic Scouting for Girls song. Strides presence on the stage immediately shows the fun filled band in their true light, coming on stage with a huge ‘Happy Birthday everyone!’ as though the band and fans are a whole community celebrating 15 years together.

Throughout the gig, fans were taken through a timeline of the band, playing all the best of Scouting for Girls as well as little stories and jokes from Stride and bandmates in between, explaining how they met at boy scouts, hence the name. The childlike name still matches the bands energy as proven in this energetic well thought out show. Not one to miss.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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