It may have been bitterly cold outside, but The 1975 put on a fiery performance as part of the band’s Music for Cars tour.
Charismatic frontman Matt Healy seized the stage at the Arena Birmingham and gave the crowd a jolt from the get-go by yelling ‘Wake up! Wake up! Wake Up!’
And wake up they did.
Kicking off the set with People, from the band’s upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form, the song served to remind fans that this was going to be a lively affair.
The arena then erupted as they were thrown back eight years when Healy grabbed his Les Paul guitar to belt out fan favourite, Sex.
Following this, the show meandered into a calmer funky entity with tracks such as TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME and recently released Me & You Together Song following it.
Most modern gigs do have that pizazz of lighting and The 1975 is up there with the best.
A huge dynamic set, which mirrors their first album cover, wraps itself around the band and it takes the gig from ‘a bunch of songs thrown together’ to an awe-inspiring performance.
Yes, the stage is exactly the same as the last time the band played in Birmingham but, a year on it still is as impactful as ever.
Healy swaggers around the stage with an arrogance and you know what – it works. Healy gives the show grit.
The music industry needs people like him – it is far too easy for artists to hide behind a social media account and many lack that entertainment factor.
Without him it would feel flat. The band performed like clockwork there were no scrambles or awkward silences. It is to be expected of them though, as they have been touring non-stop since January 2019.
It kept you in the moment.
The setlist felt like it had been crafted rather than just thrown together and flowed almost perfectly from start to finish.
There were songs from the band’s infancy and ones which are yet to hit your radio. The band have a discography of three albums, with a fourth on the way, so you would expect all the fan favourites to be there. Sadly, the likes of Girls and UGH! didn’t feature which is definitely a shame. For the full setlist click here.
Six songs featured off Notes on a Conditional Form, which is pencilled in for April, 24, 2020, and the record does feel pretty solid so far.
The Birmingham crowd were treated to a rendition of Be My Mistake, which hasn’t been played at any of the previous UK dates this year.
Healy, standing alone with guitar in hand, urged fans to put down their phones and be in the moment. The reaction was spine-tingling and it took you back 20 years when all gig-goers had was a disposable camera.
The 1975 are well known to be environmental activists and during the show they took time out of performing to highlight this. Greta Thunberg, 17-year-old Swedish activist, wrote a climate essay for the band and this was played prior to the encore.
Healy urged fans to heed the message of climate crisis, but this jarred a little considering many of the thousands of fans in attendance had travelled by car.
Nonetheless, the show concluded with the arena bouncing to The Sound. It felt like the right way to see out the show.
The 1975 are still in a fine balancing act of whether they are rock, electropop or whatever you label them as, but in fact they are almost carving out a genre entirely for themselves.