5 Seconds of Summer isn’t a boy band 

click to enlarge 5 Seconds of Summer
  • courtesy photo
  • Australia’s 5 Seconds of Summer, which opened for One Direction, headlines The Fillmore this weekend.
On first inspection, Australian quartet 5 Seconds of Summer suspiciously resembles a carefully constructed boy band.

Its photogenic, fresh-faced members are still in their late teens and fresh from opening a worldwide One Direction tour. They’re also proficient in social-media outlets like Twitter and Facebook — the only places they touted their 2012 EP “Unplugged,” which shot into the iTunes top 20 in Australia, Sweden and New Zealand.

Their current single “She Looks So Perfect” is a chiming slab of power pop so irresistible, it simultaneously hit No. 1 in 39 countries.

But 5 Seconds of Summer is no assembly-line product, say bassist Calum Hood, 18, and drummer Ashton Irwin, 19. The band, which plays the Fillmore on Friday, is a rock ensemble the guys formed in high school, much to their teachers’ chagrin.

“This is actually our band — we started it from scratch,” Hood says defiantly. “In the beginning, we weren’t really rocking yet — we were just four guys playing our instruments. So it’s amazing to see how far it’s come in just three years.”

Hood still remembers it like yesterday (it almost was), how he would regularly phone the older Irwin, who had already graduated, to sneak him out of class.

“Then I’d come by in my bomb of a car to pick him up, and we’d go do band-oriented things,” Irwin says.

One day, the principal had enough of Hood’s truancy and called his parents in.

“It was not a good day, my dad got really angry,” Hood says. “But it turned into something cool. We worked so hard as a band that everyone at school eventually came to terms with it.”

The kids were dead serious. Initially, they worked with Aussie composers, then relocated to London — where they’re now based, with their parents’ blessings — to co-write with Jamie Scott, Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick Hodgson and James Bourne of 5 Seconds’ stylistic punk-pop forebears Busted.

“Lately, we’ve written with [Goldfinger’s] John Feldmann, the Madden brothers from Good Charlotte, and Alex [Gaskarth] from All Time Low,” Irwin says. “It was a big thing for us to learn how to write rock songs, but with pop melodies — that’s what we’ve always wanted to do.”

With a full-length debut arriving in — of course — summer, the lads could well become the next One Direction. They’ve already had the last laugh in Australia, where creepy former classmates now attend their shows.

“These dudes come up to us going ‘My sister loves you guys!’ It’s hilarious!” Irwin says. “But guys dig us, as well. It’s a cool, high-energy rock show. With lots of guitars!”


5 Seconds of Summer

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $25

Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com

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Tom Lanham

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