JLS + TINCHY STRYDER + SHAB – BRIGHTON CENTRE 7.11.23
I spent my teenage years living and breathing JLS. You could hardly see my walls through the posters. I went to at least one date on every single JLS tour from day one, so of course I had to see the ‘EVERYBODY SAY JLS: The Hits Tour’. As a self-proclaimed Aston girl, I wore a bold blue dress and a JLS hoodie, ready to see the band that defined my teens.
The night at the Brighton Centre opened with SHAB. SHAB is an American singer and songwriter, making her big break in late 2020. SHAB’s multicultural background sees her speaking three languages: English, Farsi, and German. Before 2020, SHAB was releasing songs in Farsi, switching to English in 2018. Her debut album ‘Infinite Love’ was released in 2021. SHAB brought nightclub vibes to the Brighton Centre, hyping us up to dance to JLS. The dynamic between each person on stage felt intimate; the talent of the dancers was impressive. SHAB’s outfit was absolutely incredible, she had real star quality. Her music is for self-proclaimed ‘lover girls’ who know they deserve better than half hearted love. If you like dance music, SHAB is an up and coming artist that may interest you.
The second support act of the night was Tinchy Stryder. Kwasi Danquah, stage name Tinchy Stryder, was born in Ghana in 1986. He moved to London in 1995 and started making music at age 11. Since then, he hasn’t looked back, starting his own business in 2006. His debut album ‘Star In The Hood’ was released in 2007, shortly followed by ‘Cloud 9 The EP’ in 2008. His next release was ‘Catch 22’ in 2009. In 2010 he released ‘Third Strike’. In 2016 he dropped ‘360 degrees/ The Cloud 9 LP’. Alongside his much loved music and clothing brand, Tinchy does charity work for ‘Keep a Child Alive.’ I never imagined I’d see a show with both Tinchy Stryder and JLS, but in 2023 anything is possible! Tinchy Stryder brought so much energy to Brighton, and we were all representing our city. When he played ‘You’re Not Alone’ we all went wild. It’s such a classic 2000s song, perfect for the nostalgic evening we were all experiencing together. I was happy to hear ‘Off The Record’ purely for the lyric “my life is like a roller coaster coming off the track.” I always loved that when I was younger, so screaming it in a room full of people was perfect! The highlight of Tinchy Stryder’s set had to be ‘Number 1’. This song was always played at discos and I couldn’t believe I was hearing it live.
Then came the moment I’ve been waiting for… JLS consists of Aston Merrygold, JB Gill, Marvin Humes, and Oritsé Williams. JLS were runners up of the X-Factor in 2008. Their first two singles ‘Beat Again’ and ‘Everybody In Love’ both hit number one in the UK charts. Their self-titled debut album was released on the 9th November 2009. Their 2010 album ‘Outta This World’ was certified double platinum in 2011. Their third album ‘Jukebox’ was released in 2011. In 2012 they released their fourth album ‘Evolution’. The band went their separate ways in 2013 and announced their final album ‘Goodbye—The Greatest Hits’. In 2020 JLS officially announced they were getting back together to tour. On 3rd December 2021 they released ‘2.0’, an album which goes deep into the roots of JLS as a band that defined a generation.
This show was a special one because JB’s mum was in the audience! The set kicked off with ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and I was absolutely shaking in anticipation. It’s the perfect song to kick off with as it’s a real crowd pleaser. For the whole day, I’d been quoting the lyric “if I could rearrange the alphabet, it’d be U I JLS” so finally I was given the appropriate moment to scream it! It’s such an iconic song and from the very first second, I knew I was in for the night of my life.
I loved hearing the boy performing ‘Day One’ because I’ve been there since the X-Factor days, back when they were called UFO. The pictures of JLS fans in the background always makes me tear up. Their most recent album ‘2.0’ is brilliant and I was glad they played a couple of songs from it as it captures their development as artists over sixteen years.
The ‘One Shot’ choreography was true to the original music video form, and whilst I didn’t have a microphone stand myself, I still performed the dance which I spent hours learning in my bedroom. ‘One Shot’ is one of my favourite songs to hear live because it’s so iconic. It was a nice touch having the music video in the background. It really added to the nostalgia.
On 13th December 2008, the brain chemistry of so many teenage girls changed. On X-Factor, JB said “Merry Christmas” in such a funny voice. People from my generation will never forget where they were during this performance. Every single year on 1st November, I’ll retweet a video of him saying “Merry Christmas” as Halloween is over. The boys have clearly seen this meme as JB did his famous line! I screamed so loud that it hurt my chest! My throat is still hoarse today, and I blame this moment!
I was surprised that JLS performed ‘Only Making Love’ as it’s slightly more obscure than many of the other songs on the setlist. The boys proved they still have the moves, going much lower than I could without my knees clicking! Their dance ability blows me away, truly a multi-talented band.
Much to my surprise, the boys split into teams—Aston & JB vs. Marvin & Oritsé—and did a DJ set competition. I think I’m slightly biassed as to who I think won best songs! To begin with, they played some more obscure JLS songs which was great fun. My dream obscure song is a B-side called ‘Pieces Of My Heart’ which hopefully they’ll do one day. Then they moved into some 90s and noughties classics. When JLS played ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber, I felt like I was thirteen again and listening to my music on my iPod nano. TLC ‘No Scrubs’ was another personal highlight and the boys did such a great performance of it. Another completely unexpected moment which made the night even more special. I actually forgot I was at a concert and just felt like I was in my own little world. Everyone was dancing and singing with the people around them; it’s one of those moments you treasure forever.
When I was thirteen on social media Bebo (look it up!) I had lyrics from ‘Beat Again’ as my header wallpaper. I chose “would it always haunt you baby, that you missed your chance to save me.” So now every time I hear that lyric, I get such a wave of nostalgia. Again, they performed the dance from the music video which I spent hours watching back in the day! I didn’t sit down the entire night because there were just too many opportunities to dance.
The night closed with ‘Everybody In Love’ which was the perfect way to end the ‘Everybody say JLS’ tour, given that everybody chants “everybody say JLS forever” at the end of the song. Watching the blue, yellow, green, and red ticker tape explode from the stage was an exciting ending. JLS are quite the performers and every single time I’ve seen them, they blow me away.
‘Eyes Wide Shut’
‘Hottest Girl In The World’
‘Day One / Finesse’
‘Do You Feel What I Feel’
‘So Many Girls’
‘Only Making Love’
‘I Know What She Likes’
‘Close To You’
‘Better For You’
‘The Club Is Alive’
“DJ Set Megamix”
‘She Makes Me Wanna’
‘Love You More’
‘Everybody In Love’