Most Britons in their mid to late twenties will know who Busted are, they were the three tyrants with baggy shorts and guitars around their necks that played songs about writing letters to Air Hostesses and being in love with their high school teachers. Busted were, and still are, a huge staple for British pop music and they paved the way for the likes of McFly, another British pop-rock band who came shortly after they began and made it cool for boybands to play their own instruments again.
Each went their separate ways for a while, Charlie Simpson joined Fightstar and catered his tastes toward an extra solo project, Matt Willis took to the west end playing Fiyero in Wicked and James Bourne had a brief stint with band Son Of Dork. Two of the three returned with the classics we loved when McBusted was formed, an amalgamation of both Busted and McFly, who even put out a track of their own but it just didn’t hold a flame to the original line up.
So, imagine the overwhelming excitement when the announcement came that Simpson was coming back to his roots and reforming the iconic trio that everyone knew Busted to be. They weren’t just coming back for a reunion tour, no Busted were about to be a serious band again and showcased a new sound to their longtime adoring fans, as well as drawing in new ones, with the slightly more indie pop sound of Night Driver and that, of course, meant that they had to tour.
Breezing it’s way into Newcastle to a sold out O2 Academy, Busted bring along only one support act – Natives. Natives have always been one to watch, though they have kept the same lineup for years, they weren’t always the same band – once called Not Advised with a completely different sound. The sound Natives have now, as a collective, is much more mature and is akin to Imagine Dragons, with a lot of solid drum parts that get you off of your feet. Their songs are something special, chilled out and yet still so exciting. It’s much more a collaborative effort than some bands, no member is restricted to just their one instrument and when there is a drum solo weaved into a song, everyone gets involved and it makes it something a little bit more special.
Though Natives are something to marvel over, with their very own notable symbol – of which they ask the crowd to create with their fingers for an image a mere two songs in – they are not who everyone is waiting to see. The elated looks on peoples faces are for Busted, who come on in total darkness but are not lost as flashes of fans phone cameras cast an idea of where they are.
While the new tracks that Busted have created are quite wonderful, there is a noticeable influence of The 1975. Whether it’s by similar sampling, or the catchy beats laid over a indie-pop melody, or the introduction of their own saxophone player – who, when looking at him, resembles Noah Puckerman circa season 1 of Glee. They do well at being damn catchy pop tunes but they aren’t the Busted that everyone knows and loves, with no development in between due to separation, the vast growth of their sound is colossal and hits you at just how versatile the band is. They really can play anything.
Music fans though, especially longtime ones, are creatures of habit and they are very set in the tracks that they like and want to hear. Meaning that the loudest reception Busted receives for the night is during their older tracks, the seminal pop-rock fusions that made them most well known. Sleeping With The Light On is one of the slower tracks they had released back then and it needs no introduction, from the first few notes the room is erupting in cheers and while the band starts to sing, they don’t sing for very long simply letting the crowd take over much louder as a collective than the one member singing a particular part alone onstage.
Closing out the set is Year 3000, a track that is commonly mistaken as a Jonas Brothers original but was actually allowed as a cover by Busted. It’s possibly their most famous track and it doesn’t go unnoticed, even those who were just dragged along as a chaperone, or because someone didn’t want to go alone, are tapping their feet and singing along. There is an encore of course, what would the modern show be without it’s infamous encore? It’s suited with three tracks, What I Go To School For as well as two new ones, Coming home and Those Days Are Gone.
Maybe the band would have been better suited leaving What I Go To School For until dead last but it doesn’t matter, it’s still a very great set. The old tracks have new life breathed into them and the new tracks are sure to be just as memorable as their beloved counterparts. With such a difference in sound, it’s just a wonder what Busted will bring to the table next and we hope that they stick it out for a long time to come.