Saturday 20 April 2019

Singing dimple Shawn delivers heartfelt lyrics

Pop:  Shawn Mendes, 3Arena, Dublin

Six strings and a smile: Mendes channels Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
Six strings and a smile: Mendes channels Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber

Ed Power

Shawn Mendes is the first pop star to play 3Arena since Ariana Grande headlined in May. A lot has changed since then and security is tight. Mendes obliquely references the suicide bombing in Manchester when introducing his hit 'A Little Too Much', saying he believed music can draw people together no matter their background.

As with almost everything the 18-year-old Toronto native says or does, this is met with a deafening chorus from a female fanbase whose enthusiasm makes Ed Sheeran's audience look like hardened misanthropes by contrast.

The ginger pop god is an obvious reference point for Mendes, who got his break in 2013 via defunct social media video tool Vine. A version of Sheeran's 'Castle On The Hill' kicks off a midpoint segment.

Mendes has also appropriated Sheeran's goofy, boy-next-door persona, so that, with the lights dimmed and a giant glitter ball twirling overhead, he resembles a singing dimple.

The spirit of Justin Bieber is also conjured, via Mendes' sweet voice and toothy Canadian boyishness. Musically, he walks between harmless and hopeful, his heartfelt lyrics delivered with a puppy-ish smile. Whether he has Sheeran's staying power is hard to predict, but this is a commanding performance by the teenager.

Irish Independent

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