This summer, The 1975 disappeared. Hidden away in Los Angeles working on their highly-anticipated sophomore album, they deleted all traces of social media before returning with a whole new look; replacing their well-known black and white aesthetic with neon pink.
Next was a tour announcement. Despite almost no information on the upcoming album, and the capacity to fill arenas, the alternative pop group announced a series of small theatre gigs across the country. Fans were left to wonder, what exactly is this band up to?
Walking sheepishly onto the Brighton Centre stage after a dramatic light show entrance, the indie-electro-pop group bound straight into funky Love Me, the lead single off their upcoming album, as pink lights radiate from the stage. The energetic atmosphere continues with crowd favourites Heart Out, Settle Down, So Far (It’s Alright) and The City, with the audience singing along to every lyric.
You and HNSCC, a stunning vocal-less instrumental from their EP Music For Cars, brings the mood down for a bit before Menswear gets everybody on their feet again. Slowing it back down, new song Change Of Heart could be written off as just another ballad about the end of a relationship, but with strikingly honest lyrics, mixed with Matty’s soft vocals and references from previous songs, it is a stand out. Next up is She’s American, anothe song off the new album which bears a striking resemblance to Settle Down. The track, a tongue in cheek narrative on the American girl stereotype, follows closest to what we have come to expect of the Manchester four-piece, while fellow album tracks Somebody Else and The Sound have a more classic 80’s pop sound.
Asking the crowd to put down their phones and “not live respectively” through their screens for emotional tune Me, the crowd oblige, exhibiting the genuine connection between the band and their fans. The atmosphere at a 1975 concert is palpable. Lead singer Matty Healy is a born front-man getting only more charismatic as the show goes on. Dancing across the stage with a a cigarette or glass of wine in hand, he plays a tamer version of the rock star the world came to know him as during their previous tours. The band as a whole exhibit more confidence and proficiency than ever before. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now, that this is a new era for The 1975. Having once stated, “the first record was about the rain, and this second record is about not being in the rain and doing whatever the fuck you want in the sun”, the band’s live show seems to follow suit.
Closing the set on a high with the dramatic ‘True Romance’ inspired Robbers, and pop hit Girls, the stage goes dark as chants of “we want sex” filled the room. Though the fans would have to wait, as the group return to the stage with a stunning rendition of their song Medicine against the backdrop of a city at sunset. Next up is Chocolate, the band’s most successful single to date, before finally finishing up with Sex, much to the crowd’s delight.
The 1975 are back with a vengeance, and quite possibly the most impressive set design ever seen in a theatre-sized venue. Each song is brought to life with its own colour and atmosphere. The 1975 have never been just about the music, focusing as much attention on the aesthetic of a show. Their signature rectangles are not gone, just upgraded; no longer in the background and instead hanging above them. It is their ability to fill arenas yet reluctance to that make them a marvel in the world of music. There are very few bands out there who can steal your breath like The 1975 do in their live shows. A flawlessly executed light display, combined with beautifully written songs and raw instrumental talent, is what makes The 1975 what they are; completely unique and magnificent to watch.
The 1975’s second album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It is set to be released on February 26th 2016, followed by a UK tour in March. If the songs debuted on this tour are anything to go by, it’s hard to tell just what the album will be as a whole, but expect plenty of big 80’s pop inspired tunes.