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McBusted at Open Air Theatre, Scarborough

Since its renovation and reopening in 2010, Scarborough's Open Air Theatre has been treating the local area with the kind of acts that otherwise we would likely have to travel to a city to see. This year's summer season is no exception, and an announcement which no doubt stirred a lot of excitement was the booking of pop-rock super group McBusted, who recently graced the stage with their boyish antics.

Opening support came from the ever popular local act Connor Lawlor-Mahon & Nathen Walters, who warmed the crowd with a blend of well arranged covers and fresh original material, using their signature style of acoustic guitar and vocals with on-the-spot beatbox and mc-ing. A central feature of the set was a fantastic cover of Bastille's 'Pompeii', as voted for by Connor's Facebook and Twitter followers, which set the precedent for a little bit of crowd involvement. The closing track was an original called 'Castles', performed new and exclusively for the Open Air Theatre, with the added bonus of being available now as a free download.

Connor's original material punches and flows with all the features of today's chart toppers. The lyrics are catchy and the beats provide the feeling of everything that's good about a typical "summer sound". These young men are familiar faces on the local circuit, and appear to be just as at home on the enormous stage of the Open Air Theatre as they do in a cramped stage space in a pub. It is highly inspiring to see local young acts with such talent and confidence supporting big-name performers on a regular basis, and heartening that the Open Air books local acts as support. Hopefully Connor & Nathen will be back there soon, but in the meantime keep an eye out for them at a venue near you.

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With this show being part of the McBusted tour, their travelling support band were right here along with them. The 3 Dudes are a three piece power-pop outfit from South Carolina, USA. As their set takes off it's easy to see how they've ended up supporting McBusted. In addition to having written songs with James Bourne, these boys' presence on stage brings to mind an early Busted, with a grungier appearance and a poppier sound, not to mention much younger faces!

Their set mainly consisted of covers of classic songs released before these lads were born, including 'Song 2', 'Purple Haze' and 'Ballroom Blitz', alongside some light banter and a suggestion for someone to "jump in the pool". Despite their age this band, consisting of twin brothers and their bassist friend, have fantastic skill with their instruments and all the energy of those who are prone to rock. They have been active for five years already and hope to one day sell out Madison Square garden in four minutes, to beat the record of Justin Bieber, who sold out in five. To help achieve this goal, The 3 Dudes have a new album out in July.

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For many people, McBusted may need no introduction. For those that do, the pop-rock super group consists of James Bourne and Matt Willis, originally of Busted, and Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd of McFly. McBusted formed as a surprise to fans when James and Matt joined McFly at a series of shows at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013. The formation met again for that year's Children in Need, and from there moved onto a full tour performing McFly and Busted's greatest hits, with an album of new material expected presently.

The six-piece group come with an unusual set-up and an impressive stage set. The fusion of two bands has created a roll call boasting one drummer, three guitarists and two bassists, with all front stage members taking a part in vocals. The stage boasts a raised drum rig complete with side ramps to enable a greater amount of the running and jumping around that all fans come expecting to see. The sides of the stage hold two sets of enormous speakers, three on one side, and two on the other, with pattern rigged LEDs in the cones which add an extra visual element to the performance. Behind the speakers hide the many wireless rigged guitars that are swapped between during the show, including Dougie's Ernie Ball basses with LED fret inlays (on a personal note my favourite instruments on stage).

The show began with the band members leap-frogging each other to get onstage, and barrelled straight into Busted hits 'Air Hostess' and 'You Said No', both going down excellently with the fans. Dougie then greeted the audience, adding that he wanted to say the town name because it has the word bra in it, leading to plenty of breast- related jokes from the rest of the band. They continued with 'Who's David?' by Busted and McFly's first single 'Five Colours in Her Hair', with much running around the stage ensuing and culminating in Danny managing to hit himself in the crotch with his guitar while solo-ing, much to the amusement of the rest of the band. A few comments about the lake surrounding the OAT stage then surfaced, with Dougie saying that he'd jump in if someone from the audience did as well; that met with little enthusiasm from the audience.

The set then moved onto McFly's 'Obviously', followed by two acoustic guitars coming out to play 'Sleeping With The Light On' from Busted's first album, which was played in with the perfect soft acoustic intro, building to the power ballad of the climax. Next came McFly's huge hit 'Star Girl', followed by a burst of flirting from Dougie to any eligible female in the audience who cared to listen (probably all of them in this reviewer's opinion!) Next up was Busted's last rock-filled single, 'Thunderbirds Are Go!' written for the live-action Thunderbirds movie of 2004. This spurred a whirl of movement on stage, including James and Tom soloing with crossed hands on each other's guitars. After this came a spurt of the laddish banter that most people come to expect from a boy band group on stage.

Several of the guitars disappeared from the stage and an unexpected cover began: 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson Five, complete with a highly entertaining little dance routine from James, Danny and Matt which worked its way to a bouncing pop-punk style conclusion that delighted the audience. This escapade was followed by 'Shine a Light' by McFly and an energy stuffed rendition of Busted's first-ever single 'What I Go to School For', after which the band ran off-stage.

After a short interval the band returned, complete with a shirtless Harry and Matt wearing a very fetching white wedding dress, which could only mean one thing - as expected, the next song was Busted's 'Crashed The Wedding', which somehow (don't ask how, I didn't look away for long) ended up with Dougie lying across Matt's back while Matt was bent forward, still playing! Second to last came McFly's Comic Relief single, 'All About You', along with a surprise happening. It would seem that someone decided to go ahead with the band's ongoing suggestions and as the song drew to a close, a man from the audience jumped fully-clothed into the Open Air's lake. The band appeared impressed but the OAT's security certainly was not. The occurrence caused some time of conversation between the band while the man swam to shore and left the arena, the band eventually remembering they had a song to finish. A couple of rounds of chorus later, the song actually finished.

During the post-song conversation, a large pink object began descending from the top of the front of the stage. Once descended, it began inflating and revealed itself to be a set of three breasts, as referenced in the lyrics to Busted's rock-fuelled, sci-fi inspired hit 'Year 3000', which was the final number of the night, pulling the crowd into an exhilarated sing-along and much cheering for more as, one by one, the band laid down their instruments and ran up the stage ramps, to jump off and disappear behind the set. The crowd were left wanting more and I think it's safe to say a fantastic evening was had by all.

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Category: Reviews

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