Note: this was originally published here
‘Are you gay?’ is the first question a girl in a flowery dress at the bar asks me only a couple of minutes after I get into G-A-Y at Heaven. ‘What do you think?’ I reply. She pauses and looks around at the throngs of sweaty (some already shirtless) men before answering ‘You don’t look very gay.’ I tell her that I’m not, and she says ‘So what are you doing here?’ And it’s a good question. This is my second time at G-A-Y, having come down to see Janet Devlin just a couple of weeks ago. Last time I came down with an old friend, but this time I’ve ended up here on my own. And it’s totally surreal.
The cheering is deafening when the band finally come on stage, though a few do people leave the dancefloor muttering about how they’re ‘like so cringe’. Something that didn’t always come across on the live shows is just how much energy the band has – they bounce around like a bunch of five year olds who’ve just been told they’re going to Disneyworld. Being in the same room really does intensify their qualities; Perrie’s huge voice seems even stronger, Jesy and Leigh-Anne seem even sassier and Jade is even more utterly adorable.
Even more amazing is how smooth the band seems already – they open with the sublime Don’t Let Go, already their signature song, which feels like it could have been written for them. They then break straight into club anthems Don’t Stop the Music and Super Bass, the latter of which Jade introduces – ‘apparently it’s funny when you say it in a Geordie accent, so next we’re goin’ to play Soopa Bass.’ The group already move completely in sync, and their vocal harmonies are only getting more polished. This is nowhere more evident than in their final song, which is (of course) their first number one single, Cannonball.
One of the most striking things about the evening is the cross section of the fanbase it reveals – as well as the gay twentysomething guys and straight teenage girls dancing and cheering, I also spot thirty something drag queens, mothers out with their daughters and the odd straight guy who has been totally swept up by the experience (though I bet a lot of them will still insist that they hated it and their girlfriends dragged them along). I could make a lame pun about there being a great ‘little mix’ of people right now…am I better than that? Clearly not.
‘God, this place is going downhill,’ slurs a bleached blonde skinny guy at the bar. ‘What do you mean?’ I ask him. “They used to play Patrick Wolf and Robyn, now it’s just X Factor and whatever other over produced commercial shit they can find.” I cautiously tell him that I only came down to see Little Mix and the expression on his face mirrors the groups of guys who retreated to the bar as soon as Little Mix came onstage. “Well, each to their own, I guess. But they’re far too kitsch for me.” And with the revelation that my new favourite band is too camp for a gay guy wearing a Madonna t-shirt ringing in my ears, I order a bottle of water and jump in a taxi home.