Fifteen-year-old Macarena takes a gulp of air between screams to tell me: “I almost cried when they came on stage.” She and her little gang, which includes Eugenia who is busy squawking down the phone while holding it up in the air for the recipient to listen in and Eugenia who has studied English for six years, are standing at the back of La Trastienda Club to see British pop punk band McFly take to Argentine soil for the first time.
In an interview with the Herald, vocalist and guitarist Tom Fletcher, said: “We’ve never been here before so we’re just building — it’s crazy to even think we even have any fans.”
It turns out they have at least 900 Argentine fanatics who filled the venue to capacity, although it had the look of being half empty as the tables had been cleared away and the teenagers (average age 13) were all squished in by the front of the stage. Dozens more were attempting to blackmail their way in by offering the burly doorman $100 for a ticket. He wasn’t buying it, but I’m not sure what would have happened had the teenaged mass with “I love McFly” scrawled on their cheeks decided to join forces and charge him, elephant style.
It seems the band, comprising Fletcher, Danny Jones (lead vocals and guitar), Dougie Poynter (vocals and bass guitar) and Harry Judd (drums), have been on their South American tour for far too long: they were an impressive hour and a quarter late starting and my eardrums couldn’t wait for them to get going. Mental note to self: bring ear plugs to deal with pre-pubescent, pre-concert hysteria next time.
Who knows what they were doing backstage? What do pop punk stars get up to when left to their own devices? Perhaps one of the quartet had got lost on the lightless streets of San Telmo. Still, when they finally leapt on stage, the sound barrier was broken and in the interests of health and safety, signs really should have been put up for the epileptics in the audience, so rapid and flickering were the 900 camera flashes.
McFly could do no wrong on that chilly Friday night, a day that had been written into hundreds of diaries for many a month, although the parents waiting outside 75 minutes early may beg to differ. The show was fun and energy-filled, their tunes are genuinely catchy and although they are only just getting a fan base in Argentina, it was definitely a performance that will increase their popularity.
The band have been going for nigh on six years and know how to tease the almost-all female audience into a frenzy. Vocalist Danny only had to hold a stare with a fan a second longer than appropriate to get the whole lot screaming for more, but overall the McFly combination is winning: they have a slightly grungy element to their music and image (marking them out as bad boys) while their cuteness and musical talent (they are actually playing their instruments) speak for themselves (marking them out as good boys). After all it’s the parents who are forking out for the tickets, CDs, posters and T-shirts so they can’t be too bad, can they?
Rattling through the hits, the McFly repertoire was lengthy. From latest album Radio:ACTIVE came Falling in Love, One For the Radio, POV, Corrupted and Falling in Love while other tracks included Transylvania, That Girl, Everybody Knows, Room on the 3rd Floor, Shaky Shaky, Lies, I Wanna Hold You, plus their British number ones Star Girl, All About You and Obviously. All 900 teenage girls (plus the two men aged over 25 I was with, and you are going to named and shamed here Richard Townley and Ramiro Cittadino) knew all the choruses, if not most of the lyrics.
My own personal gig needs were met by the first McFly in Argentina show: bit of a sing-a-long, bit of a dance, and no queue at the bar because everyone else was under 18. A fun-filled night out enhanced by a free poster with a ticket stub.