Sunday, 16 August 2015

MKTO Fan Experience & Bad Girls EP Review

MKTO are back! Malcolm and Tony returned to Australia last week to promote their new single and EP of the same name, 'Bad Girls'. They embarked on an Australia-wide tour early 2014 after the release of their self-titled debut album, but had been silent until now, and I for one am happy they've made a comeback. After several days in Sydney, the boys unexpectedly tweeted their plans to visit Melbourne. Coincidentally, I flew in a few hours before they landed and luckily managed to meet them as they arrived, not knowing myself and travelling companion Emma would be the only two to meet them during their short stay*.

I was sitting in Adelaide airport waiting for my flight departure scrolling aimlessly through social media when I noticed Tony's instagram post captioned "Been a great time in Sydney! Off to Melbourne!". Immediately, I got in contact with friends in Melbourne to find out if anyone had heard the news. Nobody seemed to know why they were coming or exactly when, and I boarded my plane insecurely, not knowing what would happen while I was in the air.

I met up with Emma after arriving in Melbourne, and as far as we could both tell the boys were still in Sydney. Not having any information on when they were leaving or if they'd possibly even arrived already, we were flying blind and hoping for the best. We both agreed to wait for a few hours just in case. Several flights from Sydney had arrived in that time with no sighting, so we made the decision to wait for one last flight before calling it quits.

Baggage claim suddenly got busy when several flights arrived at once which made it difficult to keep an eye out. I looked up from checking the time on my phone... "Isn't that Malcolm?" Hood up, sunnies on, earphones in and surrounded by crew members, he stood out like a sore thumb. We made our way through the sea of people to say hello. As soon as he saw us, he took his sunnies off and earphones out and greeted us with a smile. "Hey, what's your name?" he said to Emma and put his hand out to shake. "Emma," he repeated, "And who's this?" "I'm Nikki," "Nikki, nice to meet you." We had a quick chat with Malcolm, the crew getting a bit antsy behind him, and he offered to do photos with us. Despite the crowd of passengers having thinned out considerably, our phone camera struggled to focus with all the movement behind us, particularly with my photo. "Maybe try the flash?" Malcolm suggested. We'd been standing together in-pose for a while now trying and he was really patient, rubbing my back and pulling me in closer every now and then. I laughed at the continuous camera difficulties and his enthusiasm to keep me close, which resulted in my giggle in the photo. He thanked us and the sunglasses went back on, earphones went back in, and he headed for the door circled by his posse. Still not having spotted Tony at all, we lingered nearby.

Malcolm and the crew stood outside, waiting curbside, and passer-bys looked on trying to work out if he was someone of importance. He looked like the picturesque rich kid or celebrity right out of LA, with his phone out and sunglasses on despite the sun's absence. It was amusing to watch people react to. From the opposite direction Tony appeared, also with earphones in, walking briskly towards us. Emma jumped in his path, "Tony?" we asked with a smile. "Hey guys, did you want a photo?" he asked immediately, and we could tell he was in no position to stop and chat as the crew and Malcolm were clearly waiting on him. We hopped in for quick photos and it was evident he'd just come from the smoking area upstairs, a strong cigarette aroma lingering. We thanked him and within seconds, the boys and crew had piled into a van and driven off into the distance. Considering we'd ruled out any hope of seeing MKTO while they were visiting Australia, Emma and I were ecstatic that we'd met them and they'd been kind enough to stop for us.

When we met the boys, the Bad Girls EP was still a day away from release in Australia. We did go looking for a physical copy to purchase while we were away but weren't able to find it which is unfortunate, as it's something I would really like to own on CD. The four tracks featured on the EP are all individually strong and I believe would all easily do well if released as singles. 'Bad Girls' is immediately catchy, that popular saxophone sound underlying that's all over the charts at the moment. It even attracted attention from One Direction's Liam Payne:

That being said, I personally feel 'Afraid Of The Dark' was a more obvious single choice, with a more interesting hook and opportunity to have showcased their diversity. I learnt the chorus to 'Monaco' within my first listen and it quickly became my favourite track on the EP; I can only describe it as a feel-good tune that paints a vivid picture of what could be an amazing music video. 'Just Imagine It' has that familiar MKTO sound, reminding me instantly of their previous CD. I'm glad we got to hear more from Malcolm on 'Just Imagine It', as Tony's vocals continue take priority on their tracks. The EP has opened the door for the boys to transition to a more RNB sound which I really hope they continue to experiment with. These tracks have me very excited for their upcoming album, and I can't wait to see what they have in-store for us. I'm especially looking forward to hearing a solo track from Malcolm which is rumoured to be on the next release.

MKTO's Bad Girls EP is available worldwide now on iTunes and at selected music stores.

Thanks for reading!
- Nikki.

*Based on the fact no other fan photos with MKTO have been seen on social media from their stay in Melbourne.

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