JLS get set for Thomond Park in June

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

CHART topping UK boyband JLS might just be the nicest guys in pop music, the Limerick Leader can reveal.

CHART topping UK boyband JLS might just be the nicest guys in pop music, the Limerick Leader can reveal.

Ushered into a room to conduct an interview with your local newspaper, they politefully enquire if they can take a seat at the allotted conference table, and diligently make an extreme effort to introduce themselves and make pleasant small talk ahead of their extended interview.

Earlier, seated at a large table in the Thomond Park conference room, the well groomed and polite young men, billed ‘the biggest boyband of a generation’ who have made the remarkable leap from talent show hopefuls to this point, went to great pains to answer every question asked of them in the press conference - with questions veering from Rihanna to rugby to Hollywood and back again.

In Limerick to promote their summer concert in the Thomond Park venue, JLS - made up of Aston Merrygold, Marvin Humes, JB Gill and Oritse Williams - were greeted by a mob of screaming girls, an expectant media corps and Munster and Irish captain Paul O’Connell, who posed happily for pictures with the pint-sized popstars. All of this, needless to say, they took in their stride.

Then again, with four UK number one singles, a four time platinum album, four MOBO awards and two Brit awards under their belts in just two years since they were runners-up on the X-Factor, JLS are well used to playing the game now.

The group, who said they were busy writing material for their third studio album, explained to the Chronicle that their Thomond Park gig will be the biggest venue on their tour, and indeed will be their first time headlining a stadium tour.

“This will be the biggest venue that we are doing on the tour. It is huge. It is amazing, incredible - an honour,” said Marvin, who acted as a sort of spokesman for the group during the interview.

“Aston has Irish heritage and I was talking to Una Healy from the Saturdays just a few weeks ago and she is from just up the road in Tipperary, and I said we were playing Thomond Park and she was amazed, she said it was huge. I suppose the equivalent for us is playing Wembley Stadium - it is of that stature and it is a real honour and we can’t wait to come back and put on a great show. So many great artists have performed before, Pink and Elton John and acts like that, so we have big acts to follow.”

The lads seemed unfazed at the prospect of performing in the 26,000 capacity venue in June, where they will be joined by “good mate” Olly Murs, and several other acts, yet to be announced, but hinted at by concert promoter Peter Aiken.

“For us, we like to have firsts within the group, that is what we always try to do, to have as many firsts and achievements as we can, and when we have come to Ireland in the past, we have come to Dublin, or Belfast in Northern Ireland, so for us it is about breaking that curve and going to other places,” explained Aston.

“We thought it would be nice to break out of the main city - Dublin - and perform down here as well,” he added.

Asked about the kind of show JLS’ local fans could expect, JB took up the baton.

“It is different, isn’t it, being indoors and outdoors. We have to have a long hard think - we did the arena tour and had all of the rigging on the roof and stuff and we could use all of those attributes, but out here, it is a lot different and you have a lot more space as well, so it is for us to try and think of clever ways to use tricks to have that impact and there will be loads of theatrics, definitely,” he explained.

Marvin added: “It is all about putting on a show you know, when people come to watch JLS, it is not just about a concert, it is about putting on a show and entertaining people. One of our goals is always to obtain new fans, that is what we strive to achieve”.

JLS revealed during the interview that one of their top goals is to record a duet with the lovely Rihanna.

“We still have Rihanna at the top of the list,” said JB to much laughter from his bandmates.

“There’s a song that has just been written, for that, for us and Rihanna - well I suppose it is a male and female concept to the song, so if not Rihanna, then there is definitely going to be a female artist on the song,” added Aston.

While the band are writing and recording in LA, fear not JLS-fans, they have no plans to abandon their UK and Irish fans for very long.

“We are writing and recording in America, but we want to make sure that our fans here get our full and proper attention,” explained JB.

“A lot of artists make it big overseas and maybe neglect home a little. If anything happens in America or Japan or Europe, it’d be absolutely incredible, but for us, most importantly, we want to deliver here first.”

JLS and Olly Murs play in Thomond Park on June 26. Tickets are available, priced €48 and €40, from Ticketmaster outlets, including Euro Empire on O’Connell Street.