There’s a reason they call it the Scream Tour. At every imaginable moment, thousands of girls from about 6 to 16 years old are screaming their young heads off.
A name is announced. Scream. A photo or video is shown. Scream. Act 1 comes on. Scream. Act 1 performs. Scream. Act 1 leaves. Scream. And so the night screams on….
About 10 minutes into Sunday night’s sold-out show in Atlanta, this writer felt like an overstimulated infant. The constant, piercing shrieks, the flashing, neon souvenir necklaces and headbands, the flailing arms and the jumping bodies, all created more boisterous energy than the Fabulous Fox Theater has probably seen in some time.
The Scream Tour: The Next Generation has been selling out across the country since it made its first stop in Augusta two months ago. With a fan base that’s easily 90 percent tween girl, 9 percent adult chaperone and 1 percent brave boy, the tour has a winning formula: cute teenage boys who are decent singers/rappers and even better dancers, a DJ who expertly mixes popular radio and club tunes, and encouragement from anyone with a microphone to “make some noise.”
By the time the main act, Mindless Behavior, came on 2 hours and 15 minutes into the night, one would suspect the young fans would have been all tired out — it was a school night after all. Not even. In fact, given how little singing was actually taking place on stage, performances would be more appropriately judged using a scream-o-meter.
For Mindless Behavior – aka MB – the scream factor was off the charts. Hardly anyone noticed or cared that the quartet featuring members Prodigy, Princeton, Ray Ray and Roc Royal weren’t singing or even pretending to. That’s too bad, seeing as their debut album “#1 Girl” was just released by Interscope Records a month ago. It would have been nice to actually hear more of their real singing voices. But what do I know? The fans who helped push that album to No. 7 on Billboard charts were hardly complaining. And who could argue against the fashionable foursome’s wicked dance moves?
The highlight of the night was group’s performance of “Mrs. Right,” featuring Diggy Simmons, whose set preceded MB’s and came closest to matching the group on the scream-o-meter. The 16-year-old Simmons is the son of Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, co-founder of the hip-hop’s legendary Run DMC. Diggy is a somewhat savvy rapper even if his “serenade” to a teen girl brought onstage was at times inappropriate given his audience.
Other acts on the Scream tour were 15-year-old singer Jacob Lattimore and another quartet, Hamilton Park, which one might compare to much younger Boyz II Men. The lone girl group on the tour is OMG Girlz, which features the daughter of Atlanta rapper T.I. and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle. The trio seemed to make more of a fashion statement with their frilly dresses and colorful hair (which members threw with such force that it look pretty painful) than anything else. Oddly, a guest appearance by T.I., who introduced his rapper son G-Money, almost upstaged the girls’ performance.