You remember Busted, right? The early ’00s pop-rock boyband who enticed us by playing guitars and singing “edgy” songs about getting off with their teachers, but were still safe enough to appear in Smash Hits magazine and get our parents’ nod of approval.
If that hasn’t jogged your memory, you might’ve seen them in more recent years teaming up with their mates in McFly to create hideously-named six-piece McBusted, minus original Busted member Charlie Simpson. They then departed from the supergroup, dragged Simpson back on board and returned as the original trio with new album, Night Driver. But we’re not here to talk about that – thankfully.
We’re here to talk about why Busted were the perfect gateway band for those of us who ended up being fans of alternative music. For me, they brilliantly encapsulated the bridge between being a naive teeny-bopper, nodding along to the radio and getting swept up in the crazes of my classmates, and discovering my own path of rock music, skinny jeans and Crazy Color.
This week, their show at the Royal Albert Hall really pinpointed that for me, 15 years after my childhood love for them. I went along, not only because my inner fan-girl is something I can’t help but harbour for life, but also because I knew it would remind me of how I started becoming the person I am today as far as my tastes in music are concerned.
Yes, the tunes were still delightfully poppy and, yes, it was a show my mum could’ve quite happily enjoyed beside me. Not very rock ‘n’ roll, I know. But when they brought on Radio 1’s Daniel P. Carter to play the likes of blink-182, Green Day and Sum 41 during the interval (with his own wicked twist on them), I could’ve easily been at an awesome pop-punk gig. When bassist Matt Willis climbed through the crowd up to the balcony of the Royal Albert Hall and rocked out up there in the middle of their fans, it felt rebellious, reckless and, for a few minutes, it was all very rock ‘n’ roll.
On the surface, Busted are a boyband. Of course they are. They will never be rockstars. But, as someone who has been a fan from the first notes of ‘What I Go To School For‘, I still believe that these guys were the first stepping stones of alternative music, not just for me but for a whole bunch of us. Their unruly attitudes, gentle riffs and hints of punk appealed to me before I even really understood what it was and, if the Royal Albert Hall was anything to go by, it’s still going strong today.