The 1975 really were at their very best on a stunning Saturday April night in Perth.
Wallice took to the stage promptly at 8 pm. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter from California was a very fitting entrée to whet the appetite with Tumblr-core beats and sticky sweet synth-rock rhythms. She bolstered through a collection of up-tempo danceable tracks before arriving at Funeral, her self-proclaimed favourite track. With its Nirvana goth-adjacent melody slowly bleeding into heavy guitar riffs, a ceremonial nail in the coffin, before leaving the crowd with a parting kiss in the form of closer, coming-of-age banger 23, a dilemma to being in your mid-twenties.
Symphonic riffs cut through the eager silence filling the amphitheatre with lush synths as a wild crowd begged for The 1975. An abrupt cut of all music led to questioning tones, answered by live footage of the boys backstage singing happy birthday to frontman and controversy aficionado Matty Healy as the crowd joined in with the festivities. Matty couldn’t have picked a better place to spend his birthday.
The birthday boy took to the stage with a glass of wine in hand and a swagger in his step. In typical Healy fashion, he opened not with a song but with a commentary on guilt and shame, announcing, “I’ve done something wrong, and I’m a bad person”. Leading aptly into an acoustic guitar-based torch song for all wrongdoings, Be My Mistake.
With a puff of a spliff and a chug of wine, Matty is joined by the rest of the band on stage as they build into rhythmic 80s bangers Looking For Somebody To Love and heartfelt bop Happiness.
“We are The 1975, Manchester, England’s most glamorous band,” Matty announces before declaring, “This is the groovier side of The 1975” The band immediately launches into the jazzy grooves of UGH!, Oh Caroline and Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy) - a combination lethal enough to knock anybody’s dancing shoes off in one fell swoop of that delicious saxophone, particularly the solo in Tonight.
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The stage goes dark with a soft build-up, lights flicker, the crowd leans in, and the stage erupts. It’s If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) time, a real crowd-pleaser as the sax-a-thon continues with those smooth dulcet parps. Matty and the boys really shine in these electric moments, like a proper band in sync. There’s an energy on Red Hill tonight you could probably feel all the way from the makeshift parking spots a 30-minute walk away from the venue. This was a truly packed show. This is a testament to how far the band has come since their debut ten years ago.
Slipping so effortlessly into the groove you’d mistake them for having been born in it, forged in it, galvanising into a well-oiled machine of rock and melody. This shines through in the form of I’m In Love With You and About You—two songs from their recent LP, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. Flowing almost unnoticeably from About You into the rhythmic motions of Robbers off of their debut, Matty, now rubbed up on Dutch courage, takes a swig from a flask and leads into I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes), giving perhaps one of the best performances of the night bouncing between notes in suspenseful vocal acrobatics.
A surprising journey into Backstreet Boys territory with I Want It That Way blends with She’s American with its saccharine pop groove. Things start to slow down now as Matty gives drummer George Daniel a “wee break”, grabbing a guitar and spotlighting All I Need To Hear, and at this moment, it really was all I needed to hear.
Birthday Party is next on the agenda, a no-brainer for the birthday boy on his special day. George really shines here with the syncopated beats, masterfully swaying the crowd like fresh grass on this red hill. Those delicious guitar licks from lead guitarist Adam Hann and bassist Ross MacDonald work wonders too. Here’s that sax once more to send us into Americana bliss. This is a true slow jam highlight.
Before Matty can rifle off into a political rant about abortion, the band quickly cuts him off with the hard-hitting buttery spread of It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You). A jazzy synth rock banger about heroin addiction, it's a testament to the masterfully coy songwriting of the band.
Proxy wars and humanitarian affairs, JP Morgan and the avengers of the financial crisis are next on the agenda for Matty. This isn’t just a concert; this is a TED Talk.
“It’s not about you bitches. They don’t give a fuck about you”.
“Just play the song”, yells a heckler or two. The crowd is hungry.
The response is Love It If We Made It. The 1975 goes woke rock. Lights flicker like camera flashes at a press conference as Matty educates the masses tonight: “Modernity has failed us, but I’d love it if we made it,” a sign of the times for a generation of social media warriors and the end of all things. What a banger.
Cue another Matty Healy political rant about social media. Cig has been lit. Ideas ignited. Matty wants you to put your phones away so the moment is special. Me boots up. A slow melodic sound way back from the backlogs as Matty croons about his family. A real tender moment meant for stages like this and only for these stages, letting the band shine and sparkle over a glorious symphony orchestra-like tune that ebbs and flows quite beautifully against the night sky backdrop.
It’s time for Sex, a The 1975 classic highlight with its hard-hitting drums and momentous guitars soaring high as Matty gets it on with a proverbial girl who’s already cuffed. The end crescendos into a wall of reverb and sound mixed with rapturous applause, proposals, or threats, to take their kit off for debonair Matthew. Sorry, mum… The night ends with Give Yourself A Try - The crisp cool words of Matty sum up the thesis of the night's events with the cathartic “You learn a couple things when you get to my age… so just give yourself a try”.
The night was everything you’d expect from a The 1975 concert, controversy, banter, sex (the song), drugs, and rock and roll. And, of course, Matty Healy nursing a glass of wine and a ciggy. With a hefty run time of 1hr 45mins, there was a lot to play with here, but every moment felt purposeful and warranted. This really is The 1975 at their very best.