The 1975 aren‘t just another boy band and anyone who claims all of their songs sound the same clearly hasn‘t given their latest album a listen or been to one of their concerts.
From ironic pop homage ‘Girls’, to extended instrumentals and saxophone and guitar fuelled songs like ‘Heart Out’ and ‘She‘s American’, The 1975 demonstrated they are no one-trick-pony at their recent O2 show.
The whole band are performers, especially frontman Matt Healy. Dressed in slippers, a suit coat and white shirt, and with a glass of red wine in hand, Healy stumbled and pirouetted over the stage, climbing on amplifiers and continuously topping up on the wine.
About this time last year, Healy declared: “The only thing my generation has left is to do things better than they were done before, and you can’t do that if you want to be an indie band who pretends they don’t care so they don’t get judged on being shit.” And at their biggest headline gig yet, he proved he meant his words.
Alongside the 80s-inspired pop-rock, obligatory thanks to fans and the nowadays standard please-put-your-phone-away-speech, Healy took the time to address his young, mostly female, audience. In what was an almost inspiring speech, he recounted being in the UK at the time of Brexit and touring in the US when Donald Trump became the president-elect this November.
“Young progressive voices are being drowned out by regressive ideas”, said Healy. But instead of condemning the right-wing voters Healy called for compassion: “A lot of these people who voted against what I believe the majority of us stand for – most of those people are so disenfranchised by political systems that they wanted a change. And it‘s our [as liberals, the left, the young] responsibility, yes, to be pissed off, but not to be patronising and instead be compassionate and be understanding.”
After Healy‘s interlude the band went on to perform ‘Loving Someone’ – a song Healy declared to be a solution to the generational divide over Brexit and Trump. The passionate delivery of lines like, “We shouldn‘t have people afloat / If it was safer on the ground, we wouldn‘t be on a boat” had the audience singing along at the top of their lungs.
The emotional peak of the show however came later with ‘Medicine’ – Healy seemed to be wiping away his tears at this point, his lower lip trembling in the headshot of the big projections to each side of the stage.
What made this concert stand out from any list of attended gigs in 2016 was not just the band‘s energy and playfulness, but the fact that Healy wasn‘t afraid to show real emotion. The way he addressed the audience – not as you, but we – made a sense of unity palpable in the grand O2 arena. The fans felt connected, not just to the band, but to each other at a time of uncertainty and insecurity.
Featured image: Georgie Laud.