Saturday afternoon I spent some time at the Beacon Theater for a matinee performance by the British boy band One Direction, who played three shows (two at the Beacon, one at the Izod Center) in the area over the course of the long weekend. It was an extended version of the opening set they played at Radio City Music Hall earlier this yearthe 75-ish-minute set was padded out with a bunch of seasonally themed videos that looked like chillwave-inspired ads for a super-preppy clothing line (the room went absolutely silent when any romantically interesting women appeared on the screens showing these clips, in a stark reminder that boy bands' fantasy-object status is paramount at all ages). (Well, the bras and underwearmultiple on both!that were thrown were probably stark reminders too. But I digress.)
Nate "Igor" Smith They're all the cute one, don't you know.
Also padding out the set, since the boys only have one album under their belt: Cover songs. The still-curiously-mature "Use Somebody" cover that united mothers and daughters back at Radio City got a prime spot in the backend of the set; there was also a medley of hits earlier in the show that included "I Gotta Feeling," "Stereo Hearts," andin another sap to the parents"Torn," the Ednaswap song made inescapable by Aussie soap star Natalie Imbruglia in the late '90s. The breezy guitar and sad-confused lyrics fit in perfectly with One Direction's scrubbed-schoolboy-who-can-still-be-bad aesthetic, and perhaps most surprisingly, every member of the audience, even those who weren't even eggs when the song hit big in 1997, knew every word. Which got me thinking: What other songs from that halcyon era could One Direction, whose sound borrows much more from the alt-leaning radio pop songs that would later become adult-contemporary staples than it does the likes of 'NSync and the Backstreet Boys, remake into their own, cherub-cheeked image? Six suggestions below.More »