Having notched up more than a dozen stellar hit singles since 1997, UK boy band Five came to a dead halt four short years later as its young, exhausted members fought, broke down and fell apart.
Now, thanks in no small part to their star turn in addictive British reality show The Big Reunion last year, Five are riding a new wave of nostalgia-based success – all the way to Australia, where they’ll perform a string of dates across the country in November.
“It’s kind of a surprise, really – we haven’t performed for many years and now we’re going to the other side of the world for our own headline tour. We’re definitely not taking it for granted,” Five’s youngest member, Sean Conlon, told the Star Observer.
Given the group’s very name is based around the number of its members, it’s hard not to address the elephant in the room: Five is now Four. J Brown, the group’s resident eyebrow-ringed bit-of-rough, chose not to participate in the comeback, giving the remaining group members ample opportunity to slag him on camera off during The Big Reunion.
“I think J felt upset that he hadn’t been able to tell his side of the problems that had gone on between us – the fact that we were friends. Yes, it was a complex friendship, but we had some good times. Everything’s in the past though, it was 15 years ago. We were kids, and we had such huge success together. There were great times together, and some bad times too, but that’s life, innit?”
Conlon seemed to experience more than his fair share of bad times in the band. In fact, by the time Five’s third and final album Kingsize was released in 2001, he’d already done a runner. He infamously appeared as a cardboard cutout in the video to lead single Let’s Dance.
“When I left I was a child, really. From 15 to 20 years of age, I’d never had a chance to find out who Sean Conlon was, I was always just Sean from Five. That is such a critical period to find out who you are, and I had a bit of an identity crisis, I think. Once I grew up and found myself, I was able to embrace ‘Sean from Five’, which is what I’m doing now,” he said.
Fans are doing the same, with tickets to the upcoming Australian shows selling fast. Five were always a cut above your average boy band, thanks to their run of brilliant singles: If Ya Gettin’ Down. Keep On Movin. Everybody Get Up. Sure, not the deepest of pop symphonies, but earworms, each and every one.
“Yeah, definitely!” said Conlon.
“Especially being one of the writers of our songs, it’s wonderful to sing these songs and look out and see the crowds embracing them, rather than cringing at having to sing them.”
INFO: Five play Sydney’s Enmore Theatre Nov 1, Brisbane’s Eaton Hill Nov 2, Melbourne’s Palace Nov 3. Tix through oztix/Ticketek.