Releasing their elaborately-titled second album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ earlier this year, The 1975 demonstrated themselves as one of the most exciting acts around. If any doubt remains as to the power they possess, the first of two nights at London’s O2 Arena the band showcase just how much of a force they really are.
With a repertoire of pop bangers and breakaway hits at their disposal, the band take to the stage primed to party. While opening act and fellow Dirty Hit signee The Japanese House finds her element in the subtle nuances between light and shadow, The 1975 revel in their own extravagance. Stage lights glow with all the strength of a thriving metropolis, blocks lit up like skyscrapers, transforming into rotating prisms of light and back again. Dressed in a suit and slippers with glass of wine in hand, greeting the room with a shout of “fuck me,” frontman Matty Healy is a rock star for the pop generation - and the crowd lap up his every movement.
“It’s been a long year, an exhausting year to be a person,” he declares mid-show, then adding that “I’ve not come here tonight to talk politics, I’ve come here to celebrate being a legend!” Pausing to ponder the current state of the political climate regardless, he declares to the venue that “it’s our responsibility, yes to be pissed off, but to be not patronising and be compassionate and be understanding.”
The set itself is bonafide bangers from start to finish: from the excitement of openers ‘Love Me’ and ‘UGH!’ through early EP favourites like ‘Undo’ and beyond, every song is treated like a favourite. Whether it’s the intricate enchantment of ‘Paris’, the soaring romanticism of ‘Loving Someone’, the all out dance-a-long of ‘She’s American’, or something else entirely, it’s a set purpose-built to gratify everyone in the room.
Highlighting how the night is “one of the best moments of our lives,” the group repeatedly declare their love for the audience. “I don’t know how many people there are here, but there’s definitely more than 200,” Matty laughs, before asking the crowd to pocket their electronics for a “far more memorable” performance of “one song, just us and you lot and no phones.”
Throughout the remainder of the evening, phone lights dotted across the venue sway as one, twinkling and glimmering with the same majesty that the band themselves bask in. “Playing songs that you played in your bedroom in here is a trip,” Matty proclaims in a rare moment of silence. Tonight, The 1975 manage to not only exhibit their prowess, but manifest their ambition too. Announce their intent to “go away and make another record,” while the world outside may be causing us to constantly question, for just a few hours the band make the future shine as bright as the gleaming lights that hover around them.
Photos: Phoebe Fox