JLS, Hammersmith Apollo, London

4.00

Urban popstars live the scream

Oh, how the girls screamed. They screamed and cried then screamed some more. For 90 minutes the most ear-piercing sound imaginable did not cease. The reason? JLS, boyband du jour, are in town.

In the final of the 2008 edition of The X Factor, Aston, Oritsé, JB and Marvin looked on as Alexandra Burke was crowned as the winner. Tonight, JLS are on top of the world. Since the talent show the boys have signed to Epic records, after a certain Mr Cowell passed on them, and have seen their eponymous debut album outsell Burke's Overcome by around two to one. They have had two No 1 singles and a No 1 album; they have received two MOBO awards; and they have collected three Brit nominations, including Best British Group. Burke is not doing too badly herself, but it is pretty clear who the real winners are.

The boys arrive on stage looking like Action Men. Or R'n'B Kens, if you will. They all sport sunglasses, leather and denim, accessorised with ripped muscles. Gone are the adolescent, matching coloured hoodies in which they paraded on The X-Factor – they have the urban pop star look nailed.

The best thing about the boys (apart from Marvin's arms) is their choreography. Their moves are slick, effortless and modern and they move about the stage with attitude. Aston is the stand-out performer and crowd favourite, arriving on stage for a Michael Jackson medley by doing a back flip from an upper level, before nonchalantly dusting off his shoulder and going straight into song.

But they're not all about the dancing. During the ballad section, the boys showcase the vocal ability which got them noticed in the first place. Songs like "Only Making Love" and "If I Ever" prove they can really sing.

Sure, there are some stomach-turningly cheesy moments, such as when a backdrop video projects close-ups of the boys' naked torsos, with the lyrics of "Kickstart" tattooed upon them. When the band do their signature move, of lifting their tops slowly to reveal their six packs (or in some cases, eight packs), it feels a little like a tacky hen night. But it's just saucy fun and it works. JLS have a sense of humour and the audience goes wild for it.

The guys also succeed in the rather arduous task of making every single girl in the room feel special. They point to specific girls and smile, kiss audience members' hands, wave at the hysterical crowd. Heck, I felt special by the time I left. Having been an anonymous face in a sea of thousands, that was no small feat.

The night is not without it problems, however. While the singles "Beat Again" and "Everybody in Love" are strong hits, there are more than a few lacklustre numbers complete with lazy titles: "Crazy For You", "Close To You", "Keep You". You get the idea. Many of their album tracks are forgettable fare and it takes some well chosen covers, like Rihanna's "Umbrella", to save the night. JLS's lyrics do not stray too far from talk of "pretty faces" and "beautiful girls", and the songs are peppered with plenty of "baby", but I'm pretty sure no-one was there for insightful poetic musings. It is a formula that works and JLS have seamlessly filled a need for a young, street boyband.

One thing is for sure – the boys have outgrown even such a sizeable venue as the Hammersmith Apollo. There is already talk of an arena tour, which really will be a show to see. And to invest in earplugs for.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935