Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Scouting For Girls, The Dunwells, O2 Academy, Bournemouth, 05/12/2019

Following the release of their fifth studio album The Trouble With Boys, pop legends Scouting For Girls are currently out on their annual pre-Christmas tour. Hitting Bournemouth’s O2 Academy on a cold Thursday night, we had a feeling we’d be warmed up thanks to a night of great pop-singalongs.

Tonight’s support came from Leeds brother duo, The Dunwells without any gimmicks it showcased their guitar skills and soulful dual vocals. Their upbeat set and captivating stage presence meant it didn’t take long to win over the hearts of the room. Adding in a cover of Radiohead’s Creep was a hauntingly beautiful addition to their set and meant our first meeting with The Dunwells was one we’ll definitely not be forgetting for a long time. 7/10

Bursting on to the stage and into recent single Grown Up, it took mere moments for Roy Stride to get into his stride onstage as he roamed across the stage whilst exhibiting his flawless frontman abilities. Having seen Scouting For Girls live before we were already aware of the new line-up they adopt for their shows; the fifth member of the band is the audience and Bournemouth was ready to be the best new member the band have ever had.

With an audience predominantly made up of females, their cheeky twist on title track The Trouble With Boys saw an in-crowd competition between both genders erupting to be the loudest during the sing-off. The great thing about seeing these guys live is whether you’re a trusty fan who knows the word to lesser-known tracks such as Secret Tattoo or were just there for the singalongs to hits like Heartbeat, it was hard to not be impressed by their slick musicianship shown throughout. Okay, there was the odd slip up such as when Stride messed up the keyboard introduction to Elvis Ain’t Dead but we can try to erase those five seconds from our memory. This clever hit was mixed in with some Elvis Presley classics rounding off with Can’t Help Falling In Love which meant by this point those five seconds were a long distant memory.

It’s been eleven years since the band first performed live in Bournemouth and their live show is a constantly evolving, fresh and fun affair. I Wish I Was James Bond and Michaela Strachan; are both taken from the band’s debut album and received some of the warmest responses of the night. Their quirky songwriting ability is what allows them to stand out and remain as one of the UK’s most loved pop bands.  From Pete Ellard’s driving drum lines entwined with Jamie O’Gorman and Greg Churchouse on guitars and a dose of Roy Stride’s vocals, this is what the perfect pop combination looks like.

Leaving the stage to the crowd cheering for more from the awesome foursome, much to everyone’s delight they returned and threw themselves into feel-good, tongue in cheek 1+1. Every good live show in December needs a Christmas song on the setlist and luckily Scouting For Girls now have two to choose from. The most recent of these being Let’s Not Go Away, singing of not wanting to spend your festive season with the in-laws a song which Stride admitted may have got them into a bit of trouble… If you need a fresh new Christmas track to get stuck in your head, we’d recommend you check this track out as the melody has been stuck in ours since the show.

The moment everyone and we mean everyone had been waiting for arrived at the very end of the set with She’s So Lovely. Now twelve years old this track is still as incredible live as it was when it was first released, the energy levels skyrocketed, the smiles gracing the bands faces broadened and you truly felt part of a very special moment in Bournemouth’s O2 Academy. Leaving the stage to a sea of cheers, tonight was a resounding success for the quartet and a great Thursday night out for everyone lucky enough to witness the show.

If we had the option of seeing Scouting For Girls live every night, we’d definitely grab the chance with both hands. Who wouldn’t love the excuse to have a singalong, dance and smile for an hour and a half each night? We just have to hope the opportunity to be the fifth member of the band still stands in 2020 and beyond. 9/10

Written by: Nicola Craig

Photos by: Hannah Hutchings

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar