Leeds University Stylus // Monday, September 23, 2013
Since then, they’ve toured Europe and America to an ever-growing fanbase, in fact, they’ve pretty much been on the road since May. Oh, and there’s the small matters of supporting the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, playing to thousands at Glastonbury Festival and a game-changing appearance at Leeds Festival.
Did I say they scored a No 1 album? No? Yeah, they’ve had a No 1 album. It’s fucking brilliant.
Now they’re back playing to a capacity crowd more than double to that of the Cockpit – a clear indication of their meteoric rise in just four months. It seems wherever they play, the crowds will follow. And us – this is the 14th time we’ve seen them this year.
As that familiar neon obelisk shines down on the ready masses and album opener The 1975 filled the room, fighting the cheers of anticipation for space, their return to Leeds begins with almost religious power. Not your usual orthodox faith by any means, but some dark, cultish neo-sect led by a charismatic man dressed in black from head to toe. Drinking red wine from the bottle. My kind of cult.
The power frontman Matthew Healy holds over the crowd (mainly the girls) with just a wink, a smile, a swoosh of that hair and, obviously, removing his sweat-drenched top mid-set is like that of Your Favourite Boyband Member, as the Manchester four-piece tear along a weird no-mans-land between alt-rock greatness and poster idol luster.
Excitedly cherry-picking the best bits of the 80s, their live set brilliantly showcases their recently-released debut album – from the ridiculously catchy Prince-esque pop gem of Girls and the thumping burst of Heart Out to the potent emotional tug of Robbers (that wailing intro will always get the goosebumps going for me). Even the album’s atmospheric instrumental breaks An Encounter and 12 get an airing, giving time for Matt to briefly interact with the crowd.
We’re also treated to some surprising prized tunes from their back catalogue (can I use the term ‘back catalogue’ for a band whose musical output has been impressively condensed into the last 12 months?) including the beautiful fallingforyou, the playful So Far (It’s Alright) and live staple Milk (the hidden track at the end of the original Sex EP).
Predictably, it’s recent singles Chocolate and Sex that get the crowd bouncing, but many of the songs tonight are sung back at the band with such fervour. Words are known off by heart and sentiments reciprocated. Their album has been listened to a lot.
The 1975’s live shows have always impressed us, as we regularly leave venues with a ‘best yet’ satisfaction, but tonight’s 70-minute show at Stylus definitely was their best yet.
Huge production, from the strobes illuminating Matt’s wig-out moments as he thrashed his guitar during set-closers Sex and You, and the almost-monochrome backlighting, to the flawless stadium-pop complexities of backing tracks to bolster the cool noise guitarist Adam, bassist Ross, drummer George and Matt effortlessly create.
Onwards and upwards, then, for a band who remain genuinely humble, grateful and perhaps still a little bewildered at the passion that gets driven in their direction – not solely by teenage girls ready to rip a sweaty towel tossed into the crowd to shreds.
After a massive tour of America and more dates in Europe, The 1975 return to Yorkshire next February with a show at the O2 Academy Sheffield on Tuesday February 11. Support comes from their old US tourmates, the wonderful THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. Get your ticket for that now HERE before it sells out. Which it will.