At the weekend, we enjoyed a slightly bittersweet night at the O2 Apollo Manchester to see THE 1975 for the 23rd time – and the last time we’ll see them for quite a while.
The show was suitably spectacular – from their debut single The City, through to recent favourites Robbers and Heart Out, from the tender moments like Me and fallingforyou to the bombastic guitar-pop of Chocolate and Sex.
It’s been quite a ride over the last two years. Here are our 23 key moments leading up to our 23rd show last night >>
1. After a night on the pop at the beginning of September 2012, we come home, turn on music telly and there’s the monochromatic delight of The City. “There was something more intoxicating about the unashamedly 80s vibe than the cocktails we’d sunk that night,” I wrote in my review of their debut album. Minutes later, I book tickets to see them at Cockpit 3 in December – their first headline show as The 1975.
2. On November 19, The Sex EP is released and we get an idea of the scale of sounds from the Manchester four-piece. From the ambient sample and loops of Intro/Set 3 to the angular rush of Milk, we learn to expect the unexpected.
3. “There’s just us now, you know?” says Matty Healy with humility from beneath a hood. “There’s no-one else on after us.” Their first-ever headline show at Leeds Cockpit 3 on December 2, 2012, is pretty darn jaw-dropping. The band deliver a short-sharp set of sheer indie-pop delights to a wide-eyed crowd. Worth noting that Leeds band THE CARNABELLS support them and are great. Check them out.
4. Chatting to Matty after the show, we tell him we totally feel the John Hughes vibe – and he’s dead chuffed that we get it. His eyes light up when we begin to talk about Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club. Great.
5. After playing to a small crowd upstairs at the Cockpit before Christmas, the band are back at the venue (January 24 after a show at the Fibbers in York the night before), selling out Room 2 and putting on a cracking show. Matty ends up jumping off the stage onto some poor girl’s head. We’re sure she’s forgiven him by now, though. Definitely showing clear signs of things to come, the 30-minute set is a passionate powerful performance, and the crowd sing back the seedy lyrics to Sex with glee. Read our review HERE.
6. No sooner has one tour ended, than another begins, and The 1975 hit the road once again. We head to their homecoming show at the Deaf Institute on February 16. Interviewing Matty backstage ahead of the show, he reveals how he’s adjusting to life on the road and how he sees the future of his band. Read our interview HERE.
8. After a European tour with Two Door Cinema Club and a whirlwind trip to America, where they played something like 30 shows in 11 days, they return to Leeds for Live At Leeds on May 4 – their third Cockpit show in a row. Just before they come on stage, the 500-capacity room is full and there are twice as many people outside, bitterly disappointed that they didn’t get in.
9. The following night, they’re at our mate’s club in Stockon – the legendary Ku Bar. Another packed-out place, another wicked set. And they have SKATERS supporting. Awesome band. We get invited on to their brand-spanking new tour bus after the show and talk about condiments and peanut butter. Very rock n roll.
10. May 23, 2013. The setting is the sparkly Phoenix Nights-like Queens Social Club in Sheffield, which sells beers from an indoor Hawaiian bamboo bar. The band are so good they blow the venue’s fuses during their first song. Boom! DARLIA are supporting, if memory serves me right.
11. The following weekend, the band play at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. From then on, we can’t help but add the “right, dance!” order in the middle of Settle Down every time. Seriously. EVERY time.
12. We take a trip up the M6 and enjoy a brilliantly sunny day on July 28. Kendal Calling is such a great festival. We catch up with the boys backstage, ahead of their show – they’ve just come straight from a fleeting visit to America. Another amazing set, despite the jet lag.
13. After a summer of playing at just about every festival known to mankind, The 1975 are the must-see band at Leeds Festival. The Festival Republic tent is rammed, with hundreds more desperate to catch a glimpse of the band outside. We’re lucky enough to enjoy the show from side stage and they absolutely smash it. A game-changer, both for the band and their fans. The massive turnout is overwhelming (Matty disappears off stage in tears) and we’re left in absolute awe.
14. We get home from Leeds Festival to find the album has dropped in my inbox. We sit up til the very early hours listening to it on repeat.
15. The (now platinum-selling) album hits No 1 on Sunday September 8. Read our review HERE.
16. A couple of weeks later, we head up to the first show of their new tour at Newcastle Uni show, just hours after taking part in the Great North Run on September 15. We ache but we dance, loving the introduction of John’s saxophone and the trademark illuminated oblong. It’s the first time we get to hear fallingforyou live as well. Ace.
17. One of the best shows we went to was in Berlin on November 18. It’s unbelievably cold, the city is so beautiful and the venue is tiny. After an interruption in their European tour to do a one-off show in Skegness, the band are tired but well up for it and Matty’s face is a picture when he sees us after the show. The six-mile walk back to the hotel in the freezing cold is well worth it.
18. From a tiny show to fucking huge ones. The 1975 kick off 2014 with three sold-out shows at Manchester Academy (January 6-8) and three nights at Brixton Academy (January 9-11). It’s amazing to watch the band play to more than 5,000 people just shy of 12 months after playing to 200-odd. Matty comes out for the encore on his own to play the wonderful Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You, at the first Manchester show and the Brixton shows. It’s a bit dusty in this room. Got something in my eye…
19. The day after the final Brixton show, Matty heads straight off to film the Settle Down video. At the end of January, it’s released and we get rather excited. The quirky sci-fi tale, filmed in Teesside, is shot in marvellous monochrome and features the beaches I used to play on as a child and the Redcar cinema where I escaped reality. Beautiful, if a little odd.
20. On April 6, we return to the Royal Albert Hall – the venue where I experienced the best gig of my life – The Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary show. Nothing has beaten that show, but this came so very, very close. The setting, the atmosphere, the emotion is simply stunning. When they play Robbers, I’m gone. More dust making my eyes stream…
21. Speaking of Robbers, the band reveal the video for our favourite song of theirs on April 28. It’s perfect, everything we hoped it would be. And Matty taps into his inner-Elvis. Love it.
22. After another summer of US dates, European festivals and Australian shows, The 1975 return to Leeds Festival, but this year, they’re on the Radio 1/NME Stage as second headliners to Disclosure. The pull the biggest crowd the tent has ever seen. We dance a lot.
23. And so our 23rd show is their final hometown show for the foreseeable future. Each song has more vitality than ever – this will be the last time we sing these tunes back to the band for a while, and the last ‘right, dance’ addition to Settle Down.
The band has given us a fantastic two years of genuinely moving moments. We feel like we’ve been along for the ride – from first to last (for now) – and are so looking forward to seeing what they deliver with album No. 2 next year. We’re so very proud of their crazy journey, having fallen head over heels – in true John Hughes style.