February 28, 2013 1:04pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
Emblem3 Debuts New Music, More Covers at First Post-'X Factor' Show
“We’re gonna play you a new song -- this will be on our new album,” says Emblem3’s Drew Chadwick to deafening shrieks.
The Huntington Beach-based trio, comprised of Chadwick and brothers Keaton and Wesley Stromberg, drew a packed house of teenage girls to Los Angeles’ famed Roxy Theatre on Wednesday, all wielding signs that read “Drew’s Naked Juice” (a reference to the band’s “Sunset Blvd.,” in which Chadwick raps: “I like my women like I like my juice -- naked.”), “Keaton, Will You Marry Me?” and “Prom?” among other declarations of adoration.
The band then launches into “Chloe,” a mix of sugary pop confection and a Sublime-inspired beach vibe. To be sure, the influence of Savan Kotecha – who wrote such One Direction hits as “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young” and is currently executive producing Emblem3’s debut album for Columbia Records – rings in loud and clear with the group’s new tracks: "Chloe," "XO" and the Hawaii-themed "Just For One Day."
The show is Emblem3’s first since finishing in fourth place on Fox’s X Factor late last year, and it becomes immediately apparent that they are reveling in the opportunity to perform original material. After months of begging mentor Simon Cowell to let them debut a self-penned track during the competition, they were ultimately sent packing in the semi-finals without managing to crack Cowell.
On Wednesday, their energy is up and their smiles are megawatt as they hop around the stage, reach out to their fans and rip off layers of clothing. (Wesley and Drew begin the show in shirts and jackets, but end it wearing tank tops and – after the show – no shirts at all.) A close observer can sometimes see them exchanging wide-eyed glances, as if to say, "Can you believe this?"
And while the boys’ diehard followers are eager to soak up any and all previously unheard songs, there is always risk associated with performing new material that the fans can’t sing along to. To that end, Emblem3 brings a few of their favorite covers, including Gavin DeGraw’s “Chariot,” One Republic’s “Secrets,” Sublime’s “Santeria” and, most notably, Matisyahu’s “One Day,” which remains among the band’s most memorable X Factor performances. For their encore, Emblem3 performs the crowd pleasers with their X Factor audition song, “Sunset Blvd.” and a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.”
As Emblem3 prepares to hit the road, with sold-out stops in Pomona and San Diego and newly announced East Coast dates in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Chicago, their onstage stamina will undoubtedly improve. As much fun as the trio were having during their hour-long set, it became apparent that they had perhaps exuded too much energy early on, as they sometimes struggled to keep up with the rigorous pace they had set for themselves.
Among those in the audience is fellow X Factor season-two alum Cece Frey, who is currently living in Los Angeles and recording, though it is not yet clear whether she has signed with a major label. The Stromberg clan, including proud poppa William Stromberg – a Grammy-nominated composer – and uncle Robert Stromberg, who is currently directing Disney’s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, are also in attendance.
Fifth Harmony, meanwhile, stops by for a VIP friends-and-family session following the performance to offer their congratulations and dole out plenty of hugs. The girls, who have signed with L.A. Reid’s Epic Records, had earlier that day wrapped their final recording session before heading back to their respective homes.
Tickets for Emblem3’s East Coast tour go on sale Saturday, but if you can’t make it, fear not. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that a new single is expected to hit radio within the next month.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
JUST FOR ONE DAY