REVIEW: The 1975, O2 Academy, Manchester, March 13

Indie-rock foursome, The 1975, recently embarked on their biggest UK tour yet, which began in Brixton earlier this month. If nerves were an issue, they certainly managed to keep them well hidden whilst playing at the O2 Academy in Manchester…

The clock strikes seven and already people are making their way into the Grade II listed building, their mutters echoing around the beautifully carved concert hall are bringing the venue to life.

The speakers start playing minutes of vocal-less track in a successful attempt to work up the audience. Then, the four iconic silhouettes enter the stage in darkness, generating an eruption of cheers.

After what feels like a lifetime, the lights turn on to reveal the band members in their positions with a shirtless Matty Healy dominating centre stage, wearing an open black leather jacket which has tassels that seem to dance to the beat.

Judging by the response, before even striking a chord, it is safe to say that they have won over the crowd.

This tour comes shortly after their latest album release, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, which heavily influences their set. Even though this may be seen as a risky decision, it has not fallen flat with the crowd.

The four-piece boldly choose to commence the concert with Love Me, a song from their new album. As the tune reaches the crowd, they instantly throw up their hands and wave them to the beat, something that lasts throughout the show, with many heart-shaped hand gestures seen swaying above the heads of fans.

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Photograph: Chantelle Heeds

Three songs into their set, frontman Healy praises the support from fans. He then mentions their new number one album and exclaims: “You all made the album,” before singing A Change Of Heart.

Next, they decide to play yet another new track, She’s American, to finish their first set. A good choice, as the crowd roars when they identify the iconic introduction. The audience sport blue and pink faces, mirroring the backdrop, as the infectious rhythm consumes them.

Healy re-enters the stage, after gulping down a glass of wine. In response to the number of illuminated phone screens in the sea of people, he declares: “Manchester! I want to see your faces not your motherfucking phones, do you know what I mean?” He goes on to sing, Robbers, a song that he dedicates to his hometown.

Continuing to sway throughout with a glass of red wine in one hand and the microphone in the other, there is no questioning Healy’s ability to multi-task – it is almost as impressive as his performance.

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Photograph: Chantelle Heeds

Matty affirms his love for Manchester before ending the show with a crowd favourite, Girls.

There is no doubt that The 1975 have impressed, but the audience’s sweet tooth is left unsatisfied as they chant: “We want Sex!” – and no doubt Chocolate.

Re-entering the stage to deafening acclamations, the band breaks straight into the latter, much to the audience’s satisfaction.

Last but not least, Matt forcefully removes his jacket whilst saying: “Ladies and gentlemen we love you so much for coming,” before finally singing Sex. This is undoubtedly the best-received song and among the deafening cheers, a blue smoke bomb permeates the air. The perfect end to a show where The 1975 successfully showcase their ever-growing confidence and undeniable talent.

The concert ends with Matt bare-chested and gasping for breath shouting: “We love you Manchester!” before the lights turn off and a satisfied sea of people leave the stunning building.

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