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Media Reviews: AMP Live 2014

Grade: B

98.7 AMP Radio hosted AMP Live on June 12 at the Meadow Brook Music Festival located at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Mich. The sold-out show included performances from Timeflies, Icona Pop, Austin Mahone, Little Mix and Ed Sheeran. The night was filled with both highs and lows.

AMP Live kicked off with Timeflies. The duo consists of vocalist Cal Shapiro and producer Rob Resnick. The two of them are best known from their Timeflies Tuesday videos posted on their YouTube channel, which include a combination of remixes, covers and original songs. Unfortunately, I only got to catch the last two songs of their act. The large crowds prevented everyone from getting into the venue before the show started. However, I made it inside just in time to experience them recording some footage that they plan to use in one of their upcoming Timeflies Tuesday videos. They also really got the crowd going by performing a freestyle song tailored to the local crowd.

Another duo took the stage next and featured Swedish members Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo. The group’s song “I Love It” has been featured in commercials for Samsung Galaxy S4, movie trailers for Fun Size and The Heat, and was covered on an episode of Glee. Their synthpop sound did get the crowd dancing, but their performance fell short. A heavy vocal track drowned out their vocals and it was hard to tell if they were even singing during some songs. When their voices could be heard, it sounded more like shouting instead of singing in the proper key. Concertgoers seemed just as happy dancing along to the songs played being between sets as they were to Icona Pop’s “live” songs.

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was the next performer to take the stage. This performance was one of the highlights of the night and, judging from the cheers of the crowd, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Sheeran’s set started with the upbeat song “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” This song showcased his amazing vocal range, guitar, and rapping skills. He also played the Grammy-nominated song “The A Team,” and fan favorites “Lego House” and “I See Stars,” a song that he penned for the end credits of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” He ended his set with his newest single, “Sing.” He had the whole crowd singing to the song and asked them to continue even once he had left the stage. The crowd listened and they were singing for at least a solid two minutes after he had made his departure.

Austin Mahone was the next act to follow. The Texan performer started to post videos on YouTube back in 2010 with his friend and he eventually landed a record deal in 2012. Mahone definitely had the young girls whipped into a tizzy with their high-pitch screams filling the air and tears flowing from their eyes. Like Icona Pop, Mahone used a back vocal track and at times it was hard to make out his live voice. However, when his voice could be heard you could tell that Mahone was in key. During his set, he slowed things down with the song “Shadow.” He played an acoustic guitar and his voice was really highlighted. It would have been nice to see him perform his whole set like this, especially since all of the artists were given only a half-hour time slot to fill. This would have given the crowd a unique experience with which to walk away.

AMP Live wound down to an end with the last act: Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall form the British group Little Mix. The girls were all dressed in black and strutted across the stage as their set began with their high-energy song “Salute.” There were a couple of microphone issues at the very beginning of the song, but this didn’t hold the girls back at all and they quickly recovered. During their set, the girls proved why they were the first group ever to win the UK version of The X Factor. A featured spot in their performance is when they belted out an amazing a cappella version of “Boy.” Their set ended with the song “Wings.” This self-empowerment anthem was a great way to end the night: “Don’t let what they say keep you up at night. And they can’t detain you ‘cause wings are made to fly…”

It was sad to see the night come to an end, as the venue was quickly deserted. It would have been nice to see the acts get longer time slots, especially some of the big acts like Ed Sheeran, Austin Mahone and Little Mix as shirts and homemade signs indicated this was who most of the audience came to see. Overall, for the $25 ticket price, it was well worth the money to experience a night of live music. I will be checking often to see who 98.7 AMP Radio will bring to Meadow Brook Music Festival for AMP Live 2015.

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