Since their rise to prominence in 2013, The 1975 have established themselves as one of the UK’s biggest bands. Renowned for their eclectic music and diligent outlook, they have secured an ever-increasing fan-base, a number one album and sold out venues all over the world. I found myself crammed into a packed Brighton Centre to catch a glimpse of the magic.
The evening commenced with support act Ratboy (real name Jordan Cardy). The name is certainly fitting – his image, lyrics and music (an amalgamation of rock and hip-hop) possess a gritty and shabby feel to them. Along with his band, he delivered an energetic but rather immoderate set.
The house lights gradually dimmed during the half hour interval between Ratboy and The 1975, a brilliant touch which only intensified the anticipation in the venue. Finally, at 9pm, scatty lasers swept the room, static occupied the screens and eerie sounds eventually evolved into a pink glow and the distinctive Bowie-esque guitar riffs of latest single Love Me. It was the perfect opener, generating a buzz of excitement which did not falter throughout the remainder of the show. The band continued to power energetically through hits such as Heart Out and Settle Down in addition to material from their early EPs such as the slushy Falling for You and effortlessly catchy So Far (It’s Alright).
The audience were also teased with four new tracks from the band’s upcoming second album. Whilst this was a daring move, the new material was exceptionally well-received by the crowd. Similarly to the band’s debut album, the new songs verified that the ‘80s are still very much alive. She’s American is an amalgamation of previous singles Heart Out and Settle Down, Change of Heart is the band’s take on Madonna’s Crazy For You whilst the brilliant Somebody Else utilises scatty synthesiser clips and funky bass lines. It was The Sound, however which prompted the most rapturous response from the audience. They danced exuberantly to the funky ’80s-inspired indie-pop track.
The new songs weren’t the only modification since the band’s previous tour. The band has undergone a significant transformation, seemingly embracing pop music as their primary focus. Their famed monochrome façade has been subsequently replaced by a vivid pink glow. Indeed, the stage was permanently ignited in a sea of effervescent technicolour, primarily supplied by screens and laser lights. For such an intimate venue, the display was spectacular and accompanied their cinematic array of songs perfectly.
The band as a whole also exhibited more confidence and proficiency whilst frontman Matt Healy’s vocals were cleaner and more self-assured than ever before. Healy jauntily covered all areas of the stage, interacting with all parts of the arena. His carefree charisma made him an endearing frontman to watch, particularly when he took a sip from his glass of wine or lit a roll-up during the fidgety instrumental-dominated Menswear. Every movement was effortlessly cool, well-timed and sent the crowd into meltdown.
Throughout the show, it was clear that Healy and the crowd fed off each other and it worked beautifully. “We’ve invested in screens so you don’t have to. Just for this song, I want you to put your phones away,” he declared before an emotional performance of Me. Needless to say, not one phone was visible during the track. It was a significant moment which reinforced Healy’s ability to engross an audience.
The evening culminated with a perfect crowd-rousing trio of songs for the show’s encore. The audience were captivated during the tender Medicine before launching into a wild frenzy during Chocolate and Sex.
It was a privilege to be present at one of the most spectacular shows ever held in an intimate venue and I for one believe this is still only the beginning for The 1975.
By Marc Barritt