There is a moment during The 1975‘s set at the Manchester Arena, it perfectly encapsulates the demographic of the audience that have filled this vast arena – a circle pit opened up in the middle of the floor and as the sea of people spread, a teenage girl jumps into the middle of the circle and begins to ‘floss’.
It was a visual statement that helps show exactly what The 1975 are about, they’re the torch bearer for the millenials, their music lost on old age music purists but adored by a mainstream audience of young kids/adults, lead singer, Matt Healy lighting the way through the malaise and offering escapism from some dark and uncertain times.
It’s no mistake that the band’s most recent album, ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships…’ has helped catapult them into a new stratosphere of popularity, a third consecutive number one album, cementing the band’s status as the biggest the UK currently have to offer. The theme of the album delves into the pitfalls of our addiction to our phones, internet and so forth, it’s simplistic and isn’t unique in its message but it is, its timeliness, that makes it a poignant message that is getting across to their fans, who demonstrate their value in each song with deafening screams accompanied with the opening notes of every song played.
Matt Healy’s unmistakable charisma is plain for all to see and his dopey mannerisms and movements around the stage show a sense of attainability to him, his charm is undeniable and helps in his ability to dictate sing along’s, his brash honesty while speaking about society and the meanings behind songs shows his devil may care spirit, and even orchestrating a democratic vote on which song to play, “….because democracy has worked so well for us recently.” everything he does is with a wry smile and the adulation for him is obvious as fans throw roses at his feet, weep openly in the front row and react with ferocious screams to his dancing.
It is the production that takes centre stage for this show as it is second to none, persistently stunning, joyous and visually overwhelming. Huge frames of LED lighting boards shine every colour of the rainbow and shape the scenes unfolding on the back screen, as well as a conveyor belt built into the front of the stage as Healy, replicates the walk through a US city street for the music video for ‘Sincerity is Scary’.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, during ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’ the back screen turns into a touch screen, iPhone and a previously undetected part of the stage opens up for Healy to step into and deliver the songs conflicted message. If the message of ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ was somehow lost on you, this piece of production visually maps it out right before your eyes.
‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ is The 1975‘s most life affirming anthem to date and it’s candid lyrics soar around the arena as the song closes out the main set on a somber but empathetic note. The pace is picked up instantly with ‘Love It If We Made It’ which includes a dance routine between a twin set of back up dancers that have floated around the stage for the entire show, and lead singer, Healy who revels in the idea that a gig in 2019 can include guitar solos and choreography.
More tongue in cheek antics follow with ‘The Sound’ plastering all the negative reaction their music has received from critics, as Healy nonchalantly bounds about the stage, in front of thousands of people, undermining such negativity surrounding the band’s music and then finishing off with their quintessential show closer, ‘Sex’.
The innovation and vision shown throughout this headline tour underlines the fact that while, The 1975 will never be the critics darling, their status as one of the biggest bands around is firmly in hand and, it is their obsession with pushing the limits of their live show boundaries with creativity, innovation and passion that will cement their legacy.
Give Yourself a Try
Sincerity Is Scary
It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
The Ballad of Me and My Brain
A Change of Heart
Narcissist (No Rome cover w/ No Rome)
How to Draw / Petrichor
I Like America & America Likes Me
I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
Love It If We Made It