Isabella Ambrosio recounts her experience at the 1975 gig in Dublin this February.
The 1975 has been around for as long as I can remember. I remember their song “Chocolate” blowing up on Tumblr. Back in 2013, the ‘lol ur not matty healy’ phase that wasn’t far after, and the rave reviews of their third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The 1975 has always had some small, soundtrack part in my life, even though I’ve never been a diehard fan. But, I would like to say, that changed after I saw The 1975 live.
I’m a sucker for storylines. Any kind of concept album, returning characters, performance in music - any of it. And I won’t lie when I say it was unexpected how much performance was involved in the 1975’s newest tour. I found a new respect for the band in watching the thought and detail that went into every aspect on that stage. I loved the decoration - it was styled to look like a house. The stage was split into two levels: The higher level had a front door, side windows, and a library area. Below it, on the smaller level of the stage, had a massive leather chair, a gorgeous piano, a television, and a side table. There were lamps and carpets and tables and it genuinely looked like it was designed after a real home.
There was such a wide variety of ages at this show - and it’s probably the first show I’ve been to where I’ve seen such a diverse group of people. There were the teenage fangirls, the middle-20s young adults becoming adults, 30-somethings with a drink in hand, couples, groups of friends, people by themselves. Whether people knew every word of The 1975’s songs, or were there because they liked their most recent album - it seemed as if The 1975 appealed to more people than I ever realised.
The tour was for The 1975’s newest album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. The first ‘act’ of the show started with an introductory video, ‘starring’ all of the musicians on stage. They had a saxophone player and supporting instrumentalists, along with the band. They all walked through the front door, as if they were coming home from work or running errands. The fans cheered and screamed as Matty Healy was the last to walk through the door. They started the show with songs from their newest album, “The 1975”, “Looking for Somebody (To Love)”, “Oh Caroline”, “I’m In Love With You” and more. I enjoyed the uninterrupted aspect of the first ‘act’, playing through the album that they were touring for and nothing else, except for one or two songs at the end of the ‘act’. Matty Healy played a character the entire night - he slumped around the stage as if he was drunk, but if you looked at his eyes, he was aware of everything happening around him. He took swigs from a bottle of red wine and lit up ‘Camel Blues’ cigarettes from the UK. I think he was playing into what he was like before he got sober. The messiness, the carelessness in the way he moved. But during “I’m In Love With You”, the entire band starts doing a cute side-step in sync. The entire thing was staged. And, halfway through the act, he ended up on the roof of the house the stage had constructed on the second level. “I Like America & America Likes Me” had the entire crowd screaming with him. The emotion and effort Healy puts into his singing was something that still gives me chills, even as I write this review.
It wasn’t until the second act that things got as interesting as they did. Before the second act, there was an interlude, with a scripted enactment. Healy starts by sitting on the sofa, rocking his hips and beginning to take off his shirt, touching himself provocatively; before he wanders over to the television, where he then kneels in front of it, rocking back and forth on his knees and toes. A man brings out a raw steak, which Matty then eats. The television plays in the background, showing videos of animals, people in riots, and interviews with CEOs. He begins rapidly doing pushups as the now wall of televisions begins malfunctioning, moments before crawling through the original television. The piece was titled ‘Consumption’. People argue that it’s a commentary on the nature of consumption in our society: whether it be food, sexuality, television, a person’s looks. It requires a good bit of thinking, which most music shows don’t exactly do. Most musicians feel that they are there to entertain, not make you think. I enjoyed the different aspects of this show. The second act continued after, featuring “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”, “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)”, “Chocolate” and “Paris”.
The third act starts, entitled ‘An Encounter’ and The 1975 begins with ‘Robbers’. They had changed, the entire band putting on a suit ensemble. The song was beautiful, considering the number of people that sang along. While it’s one of their most popular, it’s one of their most beautiful. But the song that takes the cake for me, was “Love It If We Made It” off A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The way that Healy borderline-screamed into the microphone and the entirety of himself that he put into that song. He stomps around the stage, giving all that he has left in him. And the way he basks in the crowd singing along. It was genuinely the best performance overall. I fell in love with The 1975 after that song. The social commentary, the passion, the performance, the instrumentals - there was nothing about that performance that wasn’t exceptional.
We had to leave before the show ended, missing “Sex” and “Give Yourself A Try”, but the feeling I had when I left that show was unlike anything I’ve felt in a long time.