On Wednesday evening I headed to the O2 Academy to review The 1975’s sold out UK tour thanks to Chuff Media. The venue was packed to capacity and as we weaved our way through the crowds we overheard a spectator exclaim he had spent £180 on a ticket, so I was now aware of the levels of anticipation and dedication from this fan base.
The band had secured two stellar support acts, first up is a band firmly placed on everyone’s one to watch list for 2014, Wolf Alice. The four piece performed an impressive and engaging set and they even evoked cheers for the more well known tracks such as ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’, proving they are set to own the live circuit this summer. Next up was US outfit, The Neighbourhood, a huge deal stateside but they seemed to fall flat on this side of the pond due to Jesse Rutherford’s egotistical performance as a frontman and a real lack of creativity when playing back songs from their debut ‘I Love You’.
The crowd seemed excited enough though and as the synonymous rectangles on the back of the stage began to glow ominously, cheers erupted as the Mancunican four piece appeared. Starting with the anthemic and bombastic ‘The City’, the crowd jumped and screamed as Matt moodily conducted the crowd by sporadicly hopping around stage like a goth on heroin. The band seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the reaction and it took a while to settle in but after the deafening screams for album tracks such as ‘M.O.N.E.Y’ and ‘Talk!’, the boys looked set for the long run.
Matt thanked the joyous Brummies for being so brilliant as this was their biggest headline gig outside of London so far. They performed an impressive set which included many of the tracks from the number one debut LP including a grungey rendition of ‘Settle Down’ which showed off the quartet’s live skill whilst older EP songs received equal treatment from the adoring audience as you could see the band have had time to perfect the likes of ‘You’ which sounded incredible in the venue as guitar screeches and light filled every corner. They swayed back into pop territory with main set closer ‘Girls’ yet they added a post 80’s throwback guitar breakdown which turned quite a light album track into a crescendo of the entire night and when you see the entirely black and white set up and Matt’s demeanour, there’s no mistaking these guys for an airy boy band.
Their encore needed a little reordering, as ‘Chocolate’ came too predictably whereas it would have probably been received better dropped into the main set, this said, the reaction to this mammoth and unexpected hit is still brilliant as the whole crowd grooved to the retro vibes whilst screaming lyrics back. ‘You’ should always be the closing track in my eyes as it is the most momentous track the band have produced so far but the duty fell to an older song tonight, ‘Sex’, which was still a solid choice to see but it doesn’t have quite the same bite.
The band left the stage with faces filled with obvious adoration, I was personally impressed by their show as the band performed above and beyond what I was expecting. Having seen Foals the previous night, this British band seems to share the same formula as the math rockers. A real instrumental skill, alternative pop styled songs and a loyal fan base, let’s see where they go in five years time.