Celebrating their 15th Birthday as a band, British musical icons Scouting For Girls brought their circus of a show to Bristol’s O2 Academy for a night of feel good fun. This show sold out months ago, and judging by the queues outside before doors opened, people were excited for what the night had to bring.
With the classic James Bond theme playing in the background, the 3 childhood friends (and guitarist who joined a bit later on) came to the stage to open the night. I Wish I Was James Bond instantly got the crowd singing and dancing along, with the band making it clear from the off that the crowd were the 5th member of this band. Since their early days of gigs, this has been the case and it still continues, 15 years later.
It’s Not About You and Heartbeat kept the crowd going, with the false end to Heartbeat managing to catch me out too. They still kept that energy going with The Airplane Song and Michaela Strachen getting everyone singing along to the music.
There was then a brief pause while Roy gave us an enlightening history of the band, from how they all met to where they are today and how they got there. In a change to the set list, The Mountains Of Navaho was added in by request of someone pre show, a fitting song for the history of the band. This was followed by Keep On Walking and Famous, which saw Roy, armed with a selfie stick, running across the stage and getting people to sing along. And then, in a surprise turn of events, he came out into the audience, ran straight past where I was stood and to the upper balcony to sing along with the audience (still with selfie stick).
After this high energy, we were calmed down with Butterflies and Love How It Hurts. Then, in a turn of events from the show so far, Roy brought out the acoustic guitar to play the SFG style cover of Witney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which had the crowd dancing with each other throughout the venue. That energy and feeling was maintained with Posh Girls, having the audience chanting “Boys At School!” back to the band.
This Ain’t A Love Song started slow, with people getting their phones up in the air and the lights illuminating the stage, just like they had done for Jessie earlier, before the song quickly picked up pace and the crowd, once again, went wild.
The first big finish of the night was Elvis Ain’t Dead, an almost trademark finish to the main set for Scouting For Girls. Partnered with the SFG neon sign behind, if you’ve ever seen Scouting For Girls live you’ll know just how good this song is to hear in the flesh. Everyone in the venue (security included) was singing along and enjoying every second.
While the stage went dark and the band walked off, in a slightly unexpected turn a Christmas Tree was brought out and, when the boys returned, they were decked out in Christmas Jumpers to play their own Xmas tune – Christmas In The Air Tonight. I don’t know if it’s just me but December this year hasn’t felt particularly Christmassy this year. Well, at least it didn’t until then. With fake snow coming from the stage, the band launched into their final song of the night. She’s So Lovely was always going to be the song to end the show, with everyone once more singing and dancing along and simply enjoying it and having a good time.
I always have a great time seeing Scouting For Girls live. They’ve been playing gigs for 15 years, and there’s good reason they’ve been going so long. I don’t think a single person in the venue tonight could have a bad thing to say about this band.
As always, a massive thank you to staff and security at the venue for making this show as special as it could be.
Review and photos by Ted Stargatt