Gig Review: The 1975 – O2 Academy Bristol – Thursday 26th September

The 1975

The 1975

Review by Matthew Nicholson – Click here to read our interview with The 1975’s Matthew Healy Touring off the back off a number one album (self titled: The 1975) and just in time for Bristol’s Fresher’s Week, The 1975 are hot right now and so is the O2 Academy Bristol tonight. Bolstered by two support acts, MMX and Night Engine, the temperature rises towards their 21:30 appearance when the lights abruptly die and the atmosphere explodes. The band swagger onto a stage illuminated by doorway-shaped lighting. They play before flashing black and white throughout. The sound of the band has a dirty, buzzed up bass, given a pop lilt by the soft vocal of singer Matthew Healy. It’s big, euphoric and engaging and totally absorbs the audience, already primed to be entertained. They open with “The City” which introduces the typical motif of calling, electric guitar riffs, treated, echoing vocals and all the modern wonders of drum pads and synths. Healy has a touch of Robert Smith as he feyly emotes beneath a shaggy undercut. “How’s it going, Bristol?” he asks to a sweaty, animated crowd. So much as a raised finger is lauded with throat-ripping cries. Imagine what happens when he takes his top off!  Meanwhile, the band justify their success by infusing the adrenaline of a modern dance act (think Chase and Status) to an indie guitar band. The band’s loyal fan base sing along to every track; the set was dominated by songs from the debut album and you would assume many of the audience members have been waiting a long time for this record as several EP releases preceded the album, which was finally released earlier this month. Standout performances included the upbeat 80’s pop inspired records such as “Girls” and “Settle Down”, which sparked comparisons with early Whitney Houston material; frontman Healy cited “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as an influential track during his interview with The Fix back in August. They end with “Chocolate”. Like many of their songs, it’s built on a summery, funky riff. But this is a song they proudly inform us has just been nominated as the best song played on Radio 1 in the last five years. Such a vote may be bias to the present but the band are nevertheless able to leave the audience to lead the vocal. One big hit remains unplayed and the crowd chant of “We want Sex!” confirms proceedings aren’t quite ready to close. They return and obediently play “Sex” as part of a two-song encore with “You”. Healy ends the night atop a speaker before a reign of strobes, playing out the messianic role he holds in his fans eyes. Beneath sweating brows, the audience has been treated to a punch of one of 2013’s hottest names. Find out more about the band by visiting www.the1975.com

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