23/02/20 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.
Usually on my blog, you will see me reviewing gigs from emerging bands in smaller venues. Here is my first take on an arena gig review, and what other band to break that in, than The 1975.
The 1975, led by frontman Matty Healy, are passionate about not only music and their fans, but about the world we live in, and a multitude of related important topics. A band that voice their concerns via their music and use their platform to harness change for the better. Their headline set at Reading last year allowed them to express great concern over global warming, in collaboration with young climate change activist Greta Thunberg. The 1975 are a band, but they’re a band that care, as well as enjoying their rock and roll lifestyle too of course.
I have seen The 1975 before in Cardiff, however on that occasion I was stood so far at the back of the room I couldn’t see a thing that was happening on stage. This time around, I was determined to be closer to the front. Arriving at the Motorpoint Arena, I made my way to the side of the stage. Thankfully, to my relief my view was incredible. I couldn’t believe my luck.
The atmosphere whilst waiting for the band to come on was electric. The 1975 have a dedicated fan base, who love their music and them wholeheartedly. There was such giddy excitement filling the room. When lights out came, the darkness ensued a wave of screaming.
The 1975 stormed on to the stage, with a blaring opening of their latest debut single People. The heaviest and fastest paced of their offerings to date, it charged the crowd ready for the rest of the set. With the band on stage, the arena was more alive than ever, it was busy but the atmosphere never faltered.
Matty introduced himself and the band to us before delving into the second song, one of their very first hits, Sex. A classic, that will always be loved by fans. I absolutely adore hearing this song live, as it’s one where not a soul in the room mistakes the lyrics, everyone sings back to the band in harmony and it really brings home why we all love The 1975 so much. Their controversial lyrics and catchy melodies make for fantastic music.
The set continued as Matty danced his way through song after song. The 1975 have a way of producing singles that are instant hits, and this is apparent when you watch them performing live. Popular songs such as Chocolate, Give Yourself A Try, and Somebody Else made everyone dance and sing along with him. It was overwhelming to see just how many singles The 1975 have that are so popular and loved by myself and fellow fans, spanning across all three of their existing albums. Newest singles from their upcoming fourth album, including Me and You Together Song and Birthday Party also went down immensely well with the crowd.
As a treat, Matty and The 1975 also decided to play some of their older songs, such as Undo and Me. Some of these, people clearly never expected to hear live, as cheers reverberated around the room at the announcement they would be played. Matty himself admitted he wasn’t sure how performing them live was going to go. There was no mistaking though, that their older songs proved to be as loved now as they were back then.
On the other end of the spectrum, The 1975 also played us unreleased songs from their upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form, which is due in April. One song which I believe is called Guys, included a gorgeous montage video played across the screens behind the band. It featured their own recorded clips of them throughout their life as a band. We saw a very young Matty, George, Ross and Adam through their own eyes. It was such a lovely song, with touching lyrics, that really resonated through the crowd.
As well as performing their songs on stage, there was a moment where Matty asked for complete silence from the audience. We were played their spoken track recording, entitled The 1975, which features climate change activist Greta Thunberg, whom I mentioned previously. The track expresses deep concerns over climate change, and played out to the audience, stressed how we can all make a difference and help stop global warming. In an arena environment which is usually chaotic and loud, it was emotional to see everyone completely silent and respectful of what was being shown to them. The recording being played during the gig expressed to me that The 1975 care enough to voice their concerns clearly. The issue was not woven into lyrics and played via a song during the set. Instead the band chose to set aside a portion of their performing time, to highlight extreme worries and fears, which are fundamentally important. The 1975 have a young following, and their urge for us to help in any way we can, was clearly manifested. Everyone listened.
After the spoken segment finished, the set continued with The 1975s rebellious track Love It If We Made It, which tied in brilliantly. The track is an anthem of non-conformance to society as we know it. The band came back with a fresh energy, and threw everyone into the moment and into the music. The 1975 really had made an incredible statement. Their performances were flawless, with Matty’s vocals proving to be as good if not better than the album standard. Regardless of them having toured relentlessly. Before Cardiff they had a run of two nights in London, Matty did admit the set list for Cardiff had to change slightly due to tiredness, but the band never wanted to let any fans down, and still delivered a beautiful show.
Asides from the music, The 1975 sent across a clear message regarding climate change, and spoke to their fans in a way that was different to any band I had seen before. The gig was moving and emotional, and it is undeniable that there is a huge amount of passion and genuine care driving this band forward. For every ticket sold on their tour, The 1975 have pledged that a tree would be planted for each one. Many criticise this band for their music and for mistakes they may have made in the past, but asides from all of that, for now and for the foreseeable future they are trying to make a difference to this world. For that alone they deserve a huge amount of respect and recognition.
The 1975 brought music and heart to Cardiff last night. Their performance was sublime, the stage aesthetics and lighting were as gorgeous as ever. Their love for performing and for their fans shone effortlessly. I absolutely loved seeing them live again. I heard songs I adore, sang, danced and had a brilliant time. A few of my favourite tracks even found their way onto the setlist, such as Robbers and I Always Wanna Die.
I also listened, took in a very important message and reflected as the night went on. Music is a message, and it is wonderful to see bands such as The 1975 using their platform for positive change. Music and political messages have gone hand in hand for decades, but in this day and age, The 1975 are really giving us something to wake up and think about.