LIVE REVIEW: The 1975 return on tour with a powerful message
After a 3-year absence from Australian shores, The 1975 marked their return with a show to remember at HBF Stadium.
This period consisted of not only an absence from Australia, but a year-long hiatus from the industry as well. In this time, Matty Healy (lead singer and rhythm guitarist) went to rehab in Barbados to overcome his drug abuse. Post therapy, The 1975 returned to provide fans with their third chart-topping album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, which released in November 2018 to much critical acclaim. Shortly after, the good got better and they announced an upcoming world tour starting in January 2019 through into 2020. This announcement, combined with the new album and a 3-year wait for their return meant fans were beyond buzzed and the atmosphere was nothing short of electric.
Kicking off the night was the up-and-coming artist, No Rome, a Filipino-born artist providing a smooth chillwave vibe. Unfortunately, due in part to Perth’s inconsistent public transport, I’d missed half his set before getting to the venue. Saying that though, I appreciated the sway-inducing feels and occasional bouncy tune he had to offer, and he made an impact despite my shortened experience. Others seemed to enjoy it as well, with many getting themselves moving despite appearing not to know him overly well. Somewhat disappointingly though, the half of the set I saw didn’t contain the song I knew him for, ‘Narcissist’, which featured some vocals courtesy of The 1975’s own Matty Healy. If they brought someone they’d collaborated with in the last year, surely they’d bring him up to perform it with them later on?
This question was quickly wiped from my mind once ‘The 1975’ from their album A Brief Enquiry into Online Relationships filled the closed stadium and set off the crowd. Matty then bounced out in his own unique way, donning a skirt and irrepressible energy, and proceeded to smash out their recently released single ‘People’. Whilst different from their prior releases, this almost punk-like tune was a perfect way to kick off their performance and allow a vessel for the growing energy and anticipation held by the crowd to be released. Following this were bangers from their latest full album release, ‘Give Yourself a Try’ and ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, both of which produced a rousing vocal reception from the crowd as they recited the lyrics with a passion matching Matty himself.
For the next 45 minutes my feet didn’t stop as I bopped, jigged and swerved my way through the tunes provided by The 1975; their blend of bouncy sound and deep lyrics providing an emotional ride to immerse and express yourself in. They also fulfilled my hopes by bringing No Rome back for their collaboration ‘Narcissist’. It was around midway through their show that they decided to spring the second single from their upcoming album and fourth variant of ‘The 1975’. Unlike their other self-titled songs of the past, this one was not a revamped version of the previous ones, rather, it featured the voice of Greta Thunberg and provided a sharp reality check on the climate situation we’ve found ourselves in today.
This moment was beyond impactful and captivated the audience, the only break in the silence the occasional cheer and clap for what was being said. It was clear, people were absorbing the information and understanding the extent of the situation. Politics and tough realities are not what people usually associate with concerts, but this truly showed what a powerful vessel musicians can be for conveying messages to the public.
For the final half, they returned to their usual pop dynamic and provided us with some iconic older tunes such as ‘Robbers’ before finishing with ‘Chocolate’ and ‘The Sound’. The crowd sounded their appreciation as the concert finished in a wave of singing and bouncing. Oddly though, there wasn’t a clear encore and felt like something of an anticlimax despite the classic songs they finished on. I feel like elongating the delay before the final couple of songs is a fantastic way to build up to the finale and they may have missed a beat with that.
Overall though, the show presented by The 1975 was something to remember and has provided me with one of my all-time favourite concerts. It was disappointing not to see No Rome alongside the main act and truthfully, the encore could have been executed better.
However, between the intimate venue, passionate fans, fun, emotional tunes and Matty’s wonderfully eccentric personality, I was thoroughly entertained and had an absolute riot of a time. I’d not be surprised in the slightest if my head popped up at their next Perth visit; which just so happens to be in January next year!
If you missed out this time, be sure to check them out at Laneway Festival 2020!