Friday 14 February 2014

Live Review: The 1975, O2 Academy Birmingham 12/02/2014

Thinking to when I first saw The 1975 playing a packed out Exchange in Bristol on the tip of their success I don't think anyone was quite prepared for the whirlwind reception that lay ahead. The sheer advancement in sound and audience size has been nothing short of mesmeric as they continue to build on their efforts following a number 1 album, countless sold-out UK/world tour dates and a phenomenal 3-night run at London's Brixton Academy. There's no doubt to say tonight was going to be any different as the Manchester four-piece returned to play Birmingham's O2 Academy amongst their current run of sold out shows throughout the UK.

After a rousing performance by Wolf Alice and The Nighbourhood the anticipation began to rise as did the heat with everyone eagerly awaiting ther arrival of the band on stage. As the lights finally dropped, droning synths began to spew out from the speakers as the room became alit with a sea of camera phones. There's no introduction needed as they wave and get straight to work. Bursting in to 'The City' no time's wasted in showing the Brummie crowd exactly where they're at as the track's big hitting kick drums do battle with screaming fans. I thought I could get away with leaving my ear plugs at home this evening but that soon turned in to a regrettable mistake as the roar from teenage girls showed no sign of letting up.

Quickly thrown in to album track's 'Milk', 'M.O.N.E.Y.' and 'So Far (It's Alright)' the band leave no time for breathing as the energy hits a peak which it remains at for the entire duration. Playing true to their minimal image the stage set up is simple with a sleek monochrome backdrop illuminated by their signature rectangular neon lights. Not much has changed there since hitting the live circuit yet the advancement in their confidence on stage is a sight to behold as frontman Matt Healy swaggers around lapping up the vibe. Even the slower songs tonight create an empowering ambiance as 'Pressure', 'Me' and 'fallingforyou' swoon throughout the audience, the swelling soundscapes rushing to fill up the empty space between the venue's rafters. With the addition of an extra touring member playing Sax the band's songs truly come alive with pockets of the crowd reaching for the sky as they jump around.

The more times I watch The 1975 live the more their music takes a hold on my life as their heart-tugging harmonies blend with profound and raw lyrics to create a whole other level of engagement. That seems to be the case for many here tonight too as they lose themselves amongst the funky basslines and crowd destroying climax of quite possibly my favourite album track 'You'. The whole performance is a masterclass in perfection. With true showmanship on display from start to finish Matt Healy and co deliver a stellar performance worthy of great recognition. The crowd aren't done just yet though as the stage lights dim and chants of "we want more" echo from front to back. "I think it's about to get bananas " utters Healy. Returning for a 3 track encore it's clear to see 'Chocolate' and 'Sex' are still the big winners as little to no one is left standing still as the place erupts in to a frenzy. With stage presence and charisma locked down The 1975 continue to push the boundaries within, and quite rightly so. Who knows what's next for the young quartet, but one thing's for sure, their music is here to stay!

The 1975 played:
The City
So Far (It's Alright)
She Way Out
Settle Down
Heart Out

Their latest single Settle Down will be released February 24th 2014. The band are currently undertaking their biggest tour to date. You can check the full list of worldwide shows over on their website:


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