Josh Porter heads to First Direct Arena to see the Manchester-born band, as they bring their UK tour to Leeds.
After being scammed out of tickets for an earlier tour date, I finally got to see one of my long term favourite bands. The show, which was split into two halves, featured raw meat, cigarettes, and talent; this felt nothing like the shows I had seen them in previously.
Choosing a supporting act has always been a big deal when it comes to The 1975. The band’s record label ‘Dirty Hit’ has previously recruited artists such as Pale Waves and Beabadoobee, and has a growing number of potential budding acts they could choose from. The 1975 were the record label’s first-ever signing, discerning them as a reputable brand. This means that being picked to be the opening act of a 1975 show could bring an upcoming artist some serious, well-earned attention, and the start of a successful career. For this show, the opening act was Bonnie Kemplay, who is a mix between the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Holly Humberstone.
One thing which stood out and placed this show as one of my favourites, was the insanely detailed stage set. After ditching the well and loved neon boxes, they created a new and unbeatable stage design. Never before have I seen so much attention to detail, even in the little things like a streetlight or a vase, everything was well placed. It was incredible in supporting Healy’s storytelling throughout the first half, which featured the new album screamed from a roof top, after arriving onstage in a car.
Since the start of the tour, clips of the 33-year-old have gone viral: showing him scolding security through Auto-Tune, kissing numerous fans and moaning about menthol cigarettes being tossed on stage. It’s this questionable behaviour which one has come to expect from Sir Healy who, over the last decade, has become one of the most controversial, yet loved members of the music scene.
Looking past Matty Healy’s problematic nature, the Cheshire-born frontman allows others to revel in the spotlight at The 1975's gigs. Accompanied by talented musicians and childhood friends - including a group of tour performers to support himself, drummer George Daniel, bassist Ross MacDonald and guitarist Adam Hann, he recreates their booming, trademark indie-pop sound in a live format.
Beginning their set like any other tour, they kicked things off with the song ‘The 1975’, however to those who are unaware, this isn't the same song as beforehand: it has the same title, but the content couldn't be more varied. Even though the new album was new to the world, the crowd followed every word and carried the energy throughout.
Healy did push-ups while images of Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Margaret Thatcher flashed on screens, before climbing into an old boxed television as the stage went black, this concluded act one of the shows they’ve titled ‘The 1975: At Their Very Best’. I wanted to say something about the sofa scene but honestly, I'm still speechless. I want to keep this PG so anyone who doesn't know I advise you to do your research.
Now to the second half: after the stage team ripped apart the set just leaving the house-shaped structure, the energy that hit the crowd was unmatched. I knew what to expect as all the songs from ‘Chocolate’ to ‘Love it we made it’ hold the same emotional energy, and when it comes to them performing them live everybody, literally everybody, lets loose.
During this show, The band started doing a vote towards the back end of the set by getting their sound guy to measure the volume of the audience during a vote-off between four tracks. Out of the tracks: Change of Heart, Medicine, Paris, and Menswear, the crowd voted for Paris, which to my enjoyment was the one I was rooting for most.
It's really hard to put in to words the energy which you get from being part of this show, there’s a reason it was my 5th time seeing them. They’re truly something else, and after every show I’m left craving more.
Words: Josh Porter