The 1975 @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 1 Mar
Big screens, bigger beats, and a powerful recognition of the desperation of humanities’ inner and outer struggles – when it comes to live shows, The 1975 don’t do half measures
Such is the aura surrounding Manchester’s The 1975, you almost approach everything they do with an assurance that it’s going to be phenomenal. It’s an accolade that’s not without its warrants either; the band went from heartthrob indie teens with an eye for aesthetic branding to politically charged, self-aware arena-dwellers within an intensely short space of time, now leading the line for the UK’s ambitious music scene.
Tonight, they're gracing a monumental stage clad in blindingly bright screens, hanging boxes, raised platforms, and, naturally, a treadmill. Needless to say, before they even take to the stage to the outcry of People, the visuals are impressive. In fact, they go as far as to transform a fantastic live set into an optical masterpiece, with the screening of music videos for Robbers and The Birthday Party amplifying the tracks' moods – the latter with its glossary of memes making for notably entertaining viewing.
Variety is a speciality of The 1975, and this set is packed with expected hits while still being exemplary of their ability to mould the sheer concept of genre around themselves, jumping from indie clatterer Sex into the tropical house of TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME effortlessly. In their growth as a group, the boundaries always seem to be pushed further; see the jazzy jolt of Sincerity Is Scary, or the late-night garage of Frail State of Mind for proof. Meanwhile, early favourites of Milk, fallingforyou and Menswear never fail to sit superbly. Fittingly, the live performances have grown with them too. As the dancing Jaiy Twins now inject further energy, Matty Healy's delivery has improved twofold, and every track is so fluidly performed.
The power of the night builds as the set progresses. Healy mounts a floating platform to shred a solo to Lostmyhead, spits visceral anger via autotuned vox on I Like America and America Likes Me, while the whole place has a moment during I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes). Healy’s lyricism almost always heavily leans into concepts of youth culture with a nuanced perspective, and as on record, his lines and delivery feel as poignant and piercing as ever on stage.
"Shut up for five minutes and don’t heckle me", Healy trolls as the moving Greta Thunberg x The 1975 speech highlights the significance and capacity of the band’s music. The following Love It If We Made It is a catch-you-off-guard, cathartic release of fear at the danger surrounding our climate bubbling over in a cauldron of emotion. Yet, it’s almost fitting that after the serious stuff, such a release of energy allows for one final delirious party to conclude, as the standing crowd turn to liquid to the shuffle of Give Yourself a Try and the enigmatic The Sound.
Like it or not, The 1975 are the band of a generation and doing things that are shaping the modern music scene in ways others could only dream of. Tonight is just further proof of their capabilities.