Cleveland experiences the American Dream with MKTO


August 9, 2014

House of Blues- Cleveland, OH

        The city of Cleveland was hoppin’ Saturday night and it was not just because of the opening ceremony for the Gay Games. Fourth Street was also full of lovely ladies in their summer party outfits because MKTO was in town. The crowd seemed to be filled with mainly middle school girls and a handful of gentleman who came to see the show.

For those who have not heard of MKTO, they are a male duo comprised of Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller. Previously, Kelley was known for playing the character of Walt Lloyd on the show Lost and Oller played Danny on the Disney Channel short As The Bell Rings alongside Demi Lovato. The boys met in 2010 while working on the Nickelodeon TV show, Gigantic, playing best friends which shortly spiraled into a true friendship and formation of their band.  MKTO gives off a similar vibe to Timeflies in which they are both a singing and rapping duo.  The only difference may be the age group of the audience.

Local talent, Alex Angelo, age 13, started off the show at 6:30 pm. He was full of energy, dancing by himself onstage with his Dad and sister sitting in the pit for a Tiffany Houghton and Alex Angelo  119 good editedfront row seat. He also used a fancy soundboard to DJ a few cover songs for his Fangelos. Angelo tries to perform as much as he can in the Cleveland area, appearing at Cavs games, and even opening up for Austin Mahone on tour. He is improving with time and growing up along with his fan following.

At 7 pm, the diva of the night, Tiffany Houghton, went on. She is around age 18 but appears younger with her long blonde hair and heavy black eye makeup. She made her start on Broadway as a kid. Houghton was the lead but had a backup band composed of a drummer, guitarist, and bassist who all were wearing shirts that said “fan girls love band boys” which was the title of one of her songs that she sang. Her voice was nothing special but she did a nice job maintaining the audiences’ attention.  She was wearing a pink Gucci beanie seeming to pull off a slightly edgy look compared to the rest of her prissy outfit, but when she finally Action Item   421 good editedtook it off, she looked much better and was able to let her hair flow. Having the pleasure to speak with Houghton after the show, she was truly very genuine and sweet.

      Action Item, originating from New Jersey, took the stage at 7:35 pm. The band is comprised of drummer, Dan Brozek, guitarist, Anthony Li, bassist, David Buczkowski, and lead singer, Brian Cag. One word to describe Action Item’s performance is: amazing. Speaking from firsthand experience, this group has come a long way in the last four years. They have matured both physically and musically and there is no doubt that if they keep up their hard work they will go far in their music career.  They began their set with a drum solo, then added guitar and bass, and then vocals. They opened with Marching Band. Next they sang two new songs that are off of their recently released EP titled Great Mission: Life, called Outsiders and We’ll Be Fine.  During this song, they split the crowd in half and had one side sing “Hey” and the other side sing “Ho”.  Next, they let the audience take a selfie of them and they posed accordingly.  In exchange, they took a picture of the crowd which was later posted on their Instagram. They sang their song MKTO   e 653 goodLast Day of Summer and then promoted their new album by advertising that they were selling signed copies and meeting fans after the show. Next they sang a favorite called Brave and closed with a cover song by Tiesto called Wasted. Action Item seriously continues to improve at every show and they are currently working on their first full length album.

Finally, MKTO came on at 8:35pm, five minutes later than their scheduled start time which made the anticipation level even higher. They opened with Could Be Me, then sang Forever Until Tomorrow. During this song, they played drums that were set up at the front of the stage. Oller’s drumming got so intense that he managed to break his drum sticks and they went flying. They continued with God Only Knows and American Dream, which has a lyric video that was recently released on YouTube. MKTO also had a backup band on stage with them consisting of a drummer, guitarist, and bassist. Oller even played keyboard for one song proving that he is a multitalented musician.

The guys performed with a maximum amount of energy and constantly addressed the audience as “Cleveland”.  “Lace up! I always wanted to say that,” Oller said during the show making reference to rapper Machine Gun Kelly who is from Cleveland. Next they sang No More Second Chances. The crowd was too loud for the small venue filling it with screams and shrieks.  They sang Heartbreak Holiday and did a call and response with the audience which is always a crowd pleaser.  “Cleveland make some noise, you guys are amazing!” was just one of the many compliments given throughout the night. They slowed it down a little next with a cover of Am I Wrong by Nico and Vinz, where a music stand with lyrics on it had to be brought out onto the stage. After this, everyone but Kelley left the stage. He sang Nowhere by himself and started it by playing a synthesizer pad and synthesizer keyboard. After, everyone returned back to the stage to sing a cover song called Get My Way. Oller finally took his sunglasses off when he returned. Next they sang a new song called Hide Your Girl. They sang Goodbye Song next and then ended with their current single, Classic.

For the encore, Oller appeared on the drum set while Kelley did a freestyle rap about Cleveland. “Cleveland if you’re ready make some noise, Cleveland if you’re ready raise your hands.” The girls in the audience screamed significantly louder when they heard the guys swear.  MKTO finished the night off right with their first ever single released in January 2013 called Thank You, during which Kelley took his shirt off and of course the crowd went wild. Too make the song a little more interesting they warned the crowd to put their phones away because they were about to get wet; the guys squirted at least six water bottles all over the audience which almost was able to reach the balcony. Finally, when they jumped in the pit right at the end to reach into the crowd, girls literally swarmed and pushed their way much closer to the stage to try to touch the band. This made for quite the sight from the balcony level.

Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller sure know how to put on a good show. Although it seemed to be a quick evening as compared to other concerts, it was still an evening to remember.  After they left Cleveland, the guys appeared on the Teen Choice Awards as presenters before returning to their last five shows of their American Dream Tour. If you missed them this time around, don’t worry, they will be opening for Demi Lovato on her world tour beginning in September.

Review by: Alexa Pressman


Action Item

Tiffany Houghton and Alex Angelo