Since the 1st June, when The 1975 “disappeared” momentarily- and mysteriously- in order to rebrand themselves, I’ve been excited as to what was to come for the band. Following an array of cryptic clues and just days after the said rebrand they announced a UK tour (shortly followed by a worldwide tour)- “in venues we have loved and in places that feel intimate enough to do a proper new show” where Matthew Healy, lead singer, predicted “only the most dedicated fans will end up with tickets” (this was written in a type-writer typed letter to the fans on the 2nd June) . I was lucky enough to get tickets to see the band at The Brighton Centre, in Brighton.
On the 26th November 2015 The 1975 brought their 16 show UK tour to Brighton with, socially and politically laced indie rock/ British hip-hop (think Jamie T inspired), Rat Boy as support (who I’ve seen- and enjoyed- twice before).
The band opened with their latest single “Love Me”, a dreamy 80s inspired track and the first single from their new album, “I like it when you sleep for you look so beautiful yet are so unaware of it” (released in February next year). On this tour they have showcased four new songs (“She’s American”, “The Sound”, “Change of Heart” and “Somebody Else”) and it was refreshing to hear new material being played (I saw The 1975 at Reading Festival last year, 2014). I am eagerly anticipating the official release of the songs, as well as the release of their next album so I can hear the recorded versions. In hearing the new tracks live, I love the way The 1975’s material has shifted, changed and matured over the last few years with more experimental and conceptual pieces being played on this tour.
They also played tracks from their first, self-titled, album- The 1975 (2013). These included tracks such as “Settle Down”, “Heart Out” and “Robbers”. The atmosphere was something else during these songs. Everyone sang along with Healy- and loudly- whilst he paraded around the stage, dancing too. There were moments of interlude where instrumental pieces, from the first album and EPs, like “The Encounter” and “HNSCC”, echoed around the room- making it a true performance piece.
They also played songs from their original EPs: “Facedown”, “Sex”, “Music For Cars” and “IV”. These included songs such as “So Far (it’s alright)”, “Me” (which Healy encouraged the audience to not record as it would be “too ironic” filming screens with a screen), and “You”. Whilst some may not have been as familiar with them, many sang along. It was particularly special to see these songs played as they weren’t from the last or next album. They feel quite personal and will perhaps be compromised after the release of the next album for newer songs on upcoming setlists.
They played a three song encore which consisted of “Medicine”, “Chocolate” and “Sex”. Medicine is an incredible piece live as they incorporated a live saxophonist and played large instrumental sections. “You’ll never guess what the last two are” Healy teased the crowd. The crowd went wild knowing it’d be Chocolate (arguably their radio break through song) and Sex. The atmosphere was quite incredible.
At this point it would seem obviously crazy to not comment on the spectacular production of the show (by Tobias Rylander). Towards the ceiling there were three suspended lit up rectangles- like those from the first album and EP covers- which, when I last saw them, were at the back of the stage lined up (this could be significant of the transition from the “older” The 1975 to this new “more colourful” and new era). There were also pillars at the back which had projected images and colours onto them which matched and changed in turn with the mood of each song (all matched perfectly and in consideration of the song performed). These images were continued onto a huge LED screen at the back of the stage, behind the pillars. The set in itself was so visually stimulating and inspiring and something I found quite exciting. It’s something you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a venue such as The Brighton Centre.
You also can’t talk about The 1975 without talking about their fascinating stage presence. Matty Healy- a real showman- carried around a glass of wine in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other (when not playing a guitar). He danced throughout the show to the songs he wrote and his enthusiasm was infectious for the crowd. It was a real spectacle. When I saw them last time Healy grasped a whole bottle of wine in one hand and a goblet-like ash tray piece in the other. On this tour, they are touring with a Saxophonist- John Waugh- who played solos in songs like “Medicine”.
I’ve never felt so inspired by a concert before.
Somehow we ended up around the back at the end of the show. It was a bit weird. Rat Boy and band were skateboarding up and down the road, loads of people were queueing and I’d lost everyone I knew. We were all told that the band would be able to have a photo taken with everyone. I can’t really describe how it feels when Matty Healy asks to hug you or what it’s like to have a cluster of “selfies” with Matty and George (Daniel, drummer), taken by Healy, on your phone (it was all a bit of a blur really), but I can tell you that sometimes it’s an incredible and inspiring thing meeting those who inspire you and being able to tell them how incredible they were live (although I’m sure they probably knew that already)- especially when they’re so friendly and nice.