Live Review: B*Witched, Atomic Kitten, S Club 3, East 17, Liberty X

13 February 2017 | 11:49 am | Uppy Chatterjee

"The girls pull a fake encore for 'C'est La Vie'. We're not fooled."

Photos by Angela Padovan

Photos by Angela Padovan

More B*Witched More B*Witched

It's sticky as hell as we wander into Luna Park at sundown, retro carnival signs gleaming in the late summer sun. The line leads all the way to below Luna's creepy grin, and the crowd is not at all what we expected. Everyone's older than we thought, well into their 30s and 40s, looking more like '80s kids than '90s. 

DJ Levins is doing an awesome job of getting the crowd loose, dropping Christina Aguilera, Jojo, Puretone's Addicted To Bass and more. Going from ...Baby One More Time to Oops!... I Did It Again to Lucky, this dude knows exactly how and when to drop into the next banger. 

No pussyfooting here — Liberty X take the stage as a three-piece (just the three ladies) and rip straight into Just A Little. The trio look amazing in black catsuits, fishnets and pimp canes. With a backing track for support, their voices aren't as good as they used to be but they're definitely not bad. The girls shout out Jordan, a punter who travelled all the way from Melbourne because this tour was sold out there. Lead singer Michelle Heaton cheekily mentions she's in "one of the bands later on" and their synchronised dance moves take us into Got To Have Your Love, met with lukewarm enthusiasm at best. For the band's group photo, a girl gets her boobs out and Heaton claims, "those are the best I've seen!" Their fourth and last song is a rousing rendition of Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody.

With personally no recollection of East 17 ever existing, the trio of black-suited men take the stage to play a set of six songs. One guy is bald and wearing sunnies and looks like a professional Pitbull impersonator. Lots of women are screaming for these dudes, but apparently their music has entirely escaped this scribe's consciousness. They point out that their lead Robbie Craig is the voice behind Artful Dodger. One person is even Shazaming their songs.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

As excited as the crowd is to see S Club 3, it's honestly cringeworthy to see only two members come out in the wake of Jo O'Meara's strangulated bowel diagnosis. Gotta commend them for pulling through with the tour instead of cancelling though. S Club Party's roll call verse is just... awkward... with five of members AWOL. Tina Barrett addresses O'Meara's hospital stay and says she may join later in the tour but that wanted she wanted Barrett and Brad McIntosh to carry on without her. S Club songs are still S Club songs and they're damn fun, the crowd taking the chance to sing Bring It All Back and more with gusto. McIntosh heads down to the crowd to "pick a Jo" for Never Had A Dream Come True — she falters, but it's still a nice gesture. It's a truncated version that soon turns into Two In A Million, but the whole thing seems a bit like a glorified karaoke party due to the disparity between the many voices on the recorded tracks and only the two of them on stage. They're also having the occasional sound issue, feedback screeching out over their voices. Songs like Reach are pure; a shiny, uplifting, optimistic message that '90s pop was known for and is rare these days. Barrett and McIntosh can still hold a tune and considering they took a back seat to O'Meara in the golden era, we hear them slay hits like Don't Stop Movin'. 

We "meow as loud as we can" (a tricky task) at the behest of DJ Levins and strobe lights invite two members of Atomic Kitten + Liberty X's singer Heaton on stage. Heaton's wearing an emerald green sequined top now. Dance routines are on point and the Kittens have clearly been taking care of their bodies over the years — all these acts have! Right Now is the opener and they explain, "Liz [McClarnon] couldn't be here because she doesn't like flying" — perhaps something that could've been announced earlier? We hear a couple of songs we don't really know, then covers of Eternal Flame and Ladies Night. Their biggest hits are left to last — The Tide Is High and Whole Again, the latter of which receives the most epic of singalongs all night. 

A techno Irish jig blows up the room before B*Witched take the stage, bursting into Jesse Hold On — they're not in denim! Missing Lindsay Armaou this tour, the twins Edele and Keavy Lynch and Sinead O'Carroll have updated their look to bomber jackets, crop tops and jumpsuits, their sleek dance moves keeping them busy on stage. They plunge into hits like Rollercoaster, but surprisingly the crowd aren't as amped as you'd expect for the headliner they've waited four acts for. They showcase songs like Love & Money and Champagne Or Guinness from their new EP, which definitely has today's club pop feel about it — but people are standing pretty much stock still. Edele is performing with a cast on her right wrist and we wonder what's happened. They pop on sparkly jackets to do an ABBA mash-up featuring Take A Chance On Me, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia and Thank You For The Music. Their voices are still great, working that interesting folky texture, but the fans are barely moving or singing! A tonne of people are actually filing out; clearly people are not here to hear the act's new songs. Blame It On The Weatherman finally coaxes out our voices and dance moves until the girls pull a fake encore for C'est La Vie. We're not fooled. Either way C'est La Vie is worth the wait, Irish jig and all, and punters are finally satiated. 

A fragmented '90s party, but a '90s party nonetheless, that'll bring you plenty of "oh my god, this song!!!" moments and opportunities to dance like no one's watching.