5SOS presents Friends of Friends at The Sayer’s Club
What has a wicked line up, an incredible charity cause and had this girl flying across the US on a week’s notice?
5 Seconds of Summer’s first-ever benefit concert for their new rotating initiative brand, Friends of Friends, that’s what.
Words and Photos: Danielle Shull
The ever-evolving band’s fledgling company certainly showed out for their debut event- selling out the tickets for Hollywood’s intimate The Sayer’s Club in mere minutes with an anxious line of excited concert goers lining the venue’s facade on the night of the event. 5SOS drummer Ashton Irwin arrived early to greet one by one, offering his gratitude for each of us who came out to support Safe Place for Youth (SPY). The Venice-based nonprofit is the recipient of the success of this truly wild night and their mission to support homeless youth not only in providing the things they need to live, but in nurturing their spirits and offering sustainable resources for growth. Supporting Friends of Friends, and in turn, Safe Place for Youth is an honor that is ongoing beyond this event. Sales from the Friends of Friends merch line still benefit SPY or donations can be made directly on their website http://www.safeplaceforyouth.org/.
In organising this event, no detail was spared. The club was transformed into a haven for all things Friends of Friends, bringing to life the moody aesthetic depicted on their current clothing and accessory line. Skeletons, metallic accents and red lighting set the mood on and off the low lying stage where opener Yeya kicked us off with her rich voice and innovative production. As a former patron of SPY, Yeya utilized their resources to indulge her love of music and has grown her career to become a multi talented delight on stage and the room stopped to listen to her soul-deep lyrics.
Following Yeya was the highlight of *my* night, and the artist who had me clambering to book a flight knowing I absolutely couldn’t miss this. Sierra Deaton returned to the stage after several long years away working on songwriting. Formerly part of a duo, seeing the vocal powerhouse performing only with an accompanying guitarist and feeling confident was an absolute joy. She performed two original songs, Know You and Let Me Go, as well as a Billie Eilish cover well suited to her sultry-sweet voice that tugs on my soul. Despite her quips about her absence, Sierra looked perfectly at home on stage and sounded like the angel she is. Not one to miss a chance at honesty, she laced her tracks and quips with an important message:
“Women should tell their stories, and speak up without regard for those who may not like what they have to say”
Alexander23 followed Sierra’s set and got the whole room moving ahead of 5SOS taking the stage to talk a little bit about their cause, plans for future events (there aren’t any plans yet- but more Friends of Friends events will be happening) and introduce pop-punk powerhouse, All Time Low. Their 6 track set included well-known hits like Dear Maria, Count Me In as well as brand new track Getaway Green.
When 5SOS finally took the stage, the 200-person capacity venue sounded like a much larger show, and the ear splitting roar brought smiles to the face of each band member as they launched into the premiere live performance of freshly released track as moody and driving as the vibe of the club itself, Easier. A mind bendingly seamless transition into their debut hit She Looks So Perfect cranked the crowd’s excitement up even louder and then even louder still when the band covered The Cure’s Lovesong- complete with dual guitar solos. The shortened set included fandom favorite Jet Black Heart and both radio singles from their 2018 album, Want You Back and title track Youngblood.
The final act of the night followed the hosts, and Watt Zeppelin (spearheaded by epic writer Andrew Watt, with Chad Smith- yeah, that one- on drums) took the stage to wrap up the epic entertainment.
Conversations, compliments and dancing awkwardly with people I’ve only ever dreamt of sharing a room with inspired awe and gratitude absolutely unmatched by any concert I’ve attended previously. My ability to enjoy myself and remember to take photos is positively abysmal, but the feeling I will hold closest is one of gratitude and incredible privilege- not only for the experience of this first Friends of Friends event, but to be in a position to support a charity with such an important mission.