Review: Hot Chelle Rae
If you were a teenage boy hoping to score a date on Saturday night, Auckland's Vector Arena was the place to be.
The place was riddled with squealing girls, up to 4000 in fact. Mini-skirted, their heart-throbs' names emblazoned on their shirts, they jostled for a glimpse of American dream team Hot Chelle Rae.
The Nashville four-piece pop-dance-rock band didn't fail to delight in what was their largest ever headline act.
New Zealand's very own boy band Titanium delighted as the opening act, with British popstar Cher Lloyd whipping the crowd into a frenzy with radio hits Your Love and Turn My Swag On.
But it was HCR's Ryan Follese who had the audience eating out of his hand.
Looking preppy in a red blazer, white ruffled shirt, bow tie and tight blue pants, the energetic frontman had everyone's hands in the air for their catchy hit Whatever.
The kids sang along. There was barely a pause for breath as they screamed for Follese, guitarist Nash Overstreet, bass player Ian Keaggy and little brother drummer Jamie Follese.
"I see some very beautiful faces," Follese senior crooned. "This is very important. How many of you like to dance?"
Strobe lights and a jumpy drumbeat ensued. The crowd went wild. "This is what I'm talking about Auckland."
Fans were then treated to radio hit Honestly, the song reflecting the band's fun-loving, not-too-serious nature. With lyrics about love, ex-girlfriends and parties, their vibe is reminiscent of American pop-rock forebears Simple Plan.
It's easy to see what's to love about Hot Chelle Rae.
Follese's clear, high tenor vocals and infectious energy resonates with their mass teen following. He looks like he's having fun.
And with lyrics like "I never thought I could change; I'm doing everything I swore I'd never do, but then I've never met a girl like you," it's obvious why so many girls swoon.
To top it off, the clean-cut boys look the type you could bring home to meet your mother.
The band introduced the crowd to their new ballad Girl Like You, and rockier number Higher.
They name-dropped superstars they worked with including Demi Lovato, and Taylor Swift who they opened for in New Zealand in March.
The band's renditions of David Guetta's Without You and Calvin Harris' So Close were a nice addition to their set. The dance floor was throbbing as Follese gallivanted about the stage, tambourine in hand.
But the biggest songs of the night had to be Tonight Tonight and I Like it Like That, which had almost every arm in the arena raised towards the roof.
The latter provided a playful finale to the 90 minute set, complete with squealing "rappers" who were allowed to join the band on stage.
Teenage girls may be Hot Chelle Rae's biggest fans, but you don't have to be in high school to appreciate the American Music Award winners' talent.