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AAA Music | 19 June 2024

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The 1975 – Live @ O2 Apollo Manchester

| On 22, Mar 2016

Tuesday 15th March, Manchester

Having never seen tonight’s headliner in a live setting I was very excited. This was the last of four consecutive nights that The 1975 were performing at the venue, so expectation was undeniably high. The venue was packed out, every space filled by eager fans, and you could sense the unique impact The 1975 have had on their fans, almost like the effect My Chemical Romance had on their fans; each one adorned in a similar look.

First up, however, were The Japanese House, who more or less produce a subtler version of The 1975’s brand of music. Their sound filled the room, proving to be relaxed and groove-oriented, which kept interest up. Despite this, for all of it’s layers, the music felt a lot like a film soundtrack more suited to the background. On the face of it, the band are an interesting amalgamation of sounds: feelings of catharsis, sorrow and jubilation, all rolled into one. Unfortunately, the set lacked the energy you’d expect to serve a room of 4000 attendees. I felt that the music, at times, hit a lull, but overall I enjoyed the music, and thought their craftsmanship creditable.

Finally, we had the main event, The 1975, who arrived on stage with a vigour and swagger, which was accentuated by the lighting production: the use of a screen projection of a city skyline in a purple and pink hue embellished the music, taking the visual and aesthetic of the band to a new level. The first song of the evening was the bombastic single ‘Love Me’ off the latest album. The core of the song itself sounds busy, with too many layers of vocals, but it sounds fantastic live tonight. Matty, the vocalist, has every ounce the charisma of any great frontman, one who knows the crowd and how to work them. He’s the type of performer that you can’t take your eyes off – the way he moves his body to the beat of the music, all the whilst teasing the crowd, keeping them on their toes.

The band are a well oiled machine, anchored by the tightness of the drummer, who never over plays a part, but flavours the songs, so as not to over power and take away the essence of the music. For the most part, the set is largely dedicated to the latest album, one which is a more relaxed affair. The new material has more emphasis on other instrumentation, such as Matty’s vocals, or a piano or drumbeat, which provides a different dynamic to the proceedings, yet does nothing to upset the balance of this evening’s atmosphere – each new song performed is greeted with the same reaction of adoration.

There is no telling where the band may go next, but if the audience’s reaction is anything to go by, then we may see the band further exploring new territories within their songwriting, and perhaps performing to larger audiences.

Joe Sheridan