Welcome back to my monthly Fuzzable blog!
March’s post is a continuation from last month, which was all about my boyband loves through the years. It’s no secret that boybands have been a huge part of my life since I was young, and seven in particular have definitely played a part in shaping who I am as a person. In last month’s part one, I spoke about 4Tune, Jonas Brothers and Take That. Read on to find out about the other four boybands that shaped my life.
In terms of my history with boybands, JLS were definitely a turning point. They were the first band that I properly invested time, money and interest into after 16 year old me fell in love with them during their time on The X Factor in 2008. Over the next few years, they were an enormous part of my life and their music got me through my time in sixth form and University.
The daftest thing I ever did for JLS was queue for hours in minus degrees whilst nursing a chest infection just to get a wristband for their Cardiff signing. To top it all off, I embarrassed myself in the best way possible as I sobbed uncontrollably (happy tears though) throughout the whole thing. I was fine after chatting to JB, but as soon as I met Marvin I just lost it. Poor Oritse and Aston didn’t stand a chance!
Thankfully, I redeemed myself a few years down the line when I met them on a further two occasions. The last time I met them was a few days before my 21st birthday, when I won a meet and greet for their show at Powderham Castle, Exeter. It was such a special meet – Ori even gave me his snapback as a birthday present!
What I loved the most about JLS was that they were so professional in everything that they did. Their tours were incredible from start to finish, with each dance move and note performed to perfection. They were also the most humble human beings and never let their success make them big headed.
I was heartbroken when they announced their split, as it was the first proper band break up that I went through. It sounds dramatic af, but when you’ve dedicated so much of your time to something, it genuinely feels soul destroying when it comes to an end. Unfortunately, their split was the first of many that I was going to experience within a short period of time…
The Wanted came along in 2010 and as soon as I heard their debut single ‘All Time Low’, I was hooked. They just stood out to me as they were different from your stereotypical boyband. Their personalities were just as infectious as their talent, and they were always themselves both on and off stage. The Wanted will always be one of the most underrated boybands in history in my opinion.
Thanks to The Wanted (and JLS), I started my very own fan account on Twitter. Long before I was @lifeofkatrina, I was @TweamJLS_TW and when it came to The Wanted, I was definitely one of THOSE Twitter fangirls. There are no words for how cringeworthy my tweets would be (albeit they paid off and got the lads’ attention from time to time).
Through The Wanted and my fan account, I made friends all across the country, a lot of whom I’m still in contact with today. I always felt at home at a TW gig as there was always a friendly face around. As for the gigs themselves, they couldn’t have been more fun. The lads would always set the stage alight with their antics, and if Tom Parker told you to jump then you fucking jumped! You could always guarantee some stage love too which was a joy, except for during their final tour when any kind of stage contact was actually just very traumatic lol.
I met the lads for the first time in April 2011 and it was perfect. Over the years, I was fortunate enough to meet them several times up until their hiatus (sob) in 2014 and each time was even more special than the last. They will always be some of my favourite people to meet as they were just incredibly precious, in particular Jay McGuiness who is just beyond words. In recent years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jay, Nathan and Tom on numerous occasions – in fact, I even interviewed Tom for CelebMix!
Ah, Times Red – the second boyband turning point. If you thought I was a crazy, emotional fangirl before this point, then strap yourselves in as you’re in for a bumpy ride. I came to know of Times Red through The X Factor in 2012. My mum was hooked after watching their first audition, whilst I just liked their vibe. However, after doing some digging online I came across their original song ‘Patience’ which changed EVERYTHING. To this day, this song is still up there as one of my all time favourites.
From then on, I avidly followed their XF journey which was a rollercoaster to say the least. They were booted out at boot camp, brought back for Judges Houses, booted out again and then chosen as one of four wildcard acts. Oh wildcard week….I’ve never voted for a TV talent show in my life prior to that damn wildcard week, and without a word of a lie, mum and I spent a disgusting amount of money casting votes all week. Sadly we were a bit naive back then and didn’t know how fixed the show was…and Times Red didn’t make it through.
However, this led to the best year of my life. For the next twelve months, I had the most ridiculous experiences with the band. From meeting them for the first time in a Cardiff nightclub, doing promotion for them at Clothes Show Live, to travelling all over the UK, supporting the band changed my life.
Along the way, I met some of the most special people, some of whom are still very important in my life now. The TRED family was small but mighty – we managed to get hashtags trending on Twitter, we cast over 60,000 votes to win them online awards…there was nothing we couldn’t do.
Sadly, a year after I discovered them, Times Red disbanded. As the third split/hiatus in a short space of time, I was heartbroken especially as I was so friendly with the guys by then. However, I will always look back on that period of time in my life with the greatest of affection.
Kingsland Road – the final piece of the boyband jigsaw puzzle and the third turning point for me. For the first time, I actually found out about Kingsland literally a few days after they made their way onto social media. It was amazing to actually be a part of a fanbase right from the very start and it was great to build up a friendship with other fans and get to know the band. I was lucky enough to meet them very early on, from their first social to their first headline gig. I even won a competition where they came to my house to perform, which was just ridiculous!
The band then went on to compete on The X Factor, which I dreaded after knowing about Times Red’s experience. Regardless, we went up to Fountain Studios every week until they were voted out, bagged tickets for a live show and results show, and spent countless hours waiting around to try and see the band (albeit with a fence between us). I will never forget the night they were eliminated for as long as I live. We were seeing Cover Drive perform in Islington, and in between support acts, I was checking my phone for updates from XF. Once I found out that they were out, I was so upset that we decided to leave the gig on half and make our way to Fountain. Cue me having a narrow shave with a double decker bus because I was more focused on sobbing and looking at my phone than actually crossing the road :)))
Life after X Factor can go one of two ways, but from a selfish perspective, I’m glad they followed the path that they did. I genuinely thought I wouldn’t get to see them again after the show when in fact I saw them more than ever. At that point, we were happy to travel to pretty much anywhere to see them and we did! I have them to thank for making nowhere out of bounds – from Oswaldtwistle to Colwyn Bay, we saw it all.
My highlight was their two headline tours which consisted of six dates each. For the first one, we were going to do the standard London-Bristol-Birmingham. Then we decided to do Manchester….then Newcastle….and then Glasgow – they were only a few hours further away each time! When it came to the second tour, we’d already decided that we were going to do it all. Tour weeks were just the most fun – not only did you get to visit different places around the country, but you got to meet your pals from all over and support the band you adored. What could be better?!
Kingsland also launched a Pledge Music campaign to release their debut album. This spurred on even more ridiculous but incredible experiences. From a guitar lesson with Thomps and Con, a trip to the studio, a ride on a barge and a dressing room meet and greet on tour, I came away with the most precious memories (and a million copies of their highly underrated debut album). I miss the band and all the memories dearly, but as a wise man once said, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”