Friday, 27 November 2015

The 1975 - Swindon Oasis, 27/11/15

I'm going to be honest: I was only attending this concert because it was near to my house. I didn't expect it to sell out as insanely quickly as it did, and I felt a little bit guilty about getting tickets. I only knew 'Chocolate' and 'Sex'. What about all the hardcore fans of the band who were now missing out? Would everyone hate me for getting tickets because of the convenient location?!
But over the last couple of weeks I've listened to The 1975 a lot more, and I've ended up really liking them, and getting excited about seeing them.

First up was Rat Boy, who we accidentally missed at this year's Reading festival. We'd been intending on seeing them (him? I'm not sure. It's a solo project, with three people in the live band), but there were too many bands to keep track of! It totally wasn't our fault.
After seeing them at the Oasis... I'm almost glad that we missed them. I'm not sure if it was their attitude or the venue, but it gave me flashbacks to the many school talent shows I've experienced over the years and I was not impressed.
'Wasteman' and 'Sign On' were both extremely catchy and well-performed, and while I dislike constant rhyming couplets in pop songs it made a lot of sense and was fun. Sadly, the first half of the set all blurred in together for me, and I found myself getting very bored. There was no interaction with the crowd (apart from a half-hearted request for a circle pit before 'Left For Dead') and it was very introspective, so it didn't win me over.
The second half of the set did pick up speed, the band seeming as though they'd gained confidence, but it seemed as though it was over as soon as it had really started. Rat Boy work well as a supporting band, but I can't see them headlining large venues any time soon.

Carry On
Hanging Round
Left For Dead
Sign On
Fake ID

(I couldn't get a full setlist as I didn't know any of his songs before this evening, sorry!)

I was rather anticipating The 1975, and while I only knew four of the songs that they played I ended up having an amazing evening.
This was all down to the amount of new music in their set. After 'Love Me' I was still enjoying the show, but I felt a little bit restless - the guitar was overpowering and vocalist Matt Healy was indecipherable with his slightly whiny vocal, these problems specifically bad on 'The City' and 'You' (except for the climactic outro of 'You', which feels like a set closer to me: it has that epic sound that sends shivers down your spine and really stays with you). The crowd were still going wild, treating the band with a godlike reverence, and there was lots of screaming and singing along but I didn't get it. It didn't sound great to me, and I'm not quite sure why.
But the band went off stage for a brief interlude, and when they returned and started playing more of their new material... It completely transformed my opinion. When talking about the new songs, Matt said that they wanted to "play it to our proper fans first", and you can see why - it's unbelievably different.
'Change of Heart' is as eighties sounding as 'Love Me', while 'She's American' was an instant song to sing along to with its catchy chorus and repetitions. Fast forward two songs to 'Somebody Else' and 'The Sound', and I was absolutely hooked. 'Somebody Else' was very easy to relate to and will quickly be incorporated into lots of lyric edits on tumblr., while 'The Sound' was fun, upbeat and easy to dance to. As Matt himself announced, "We're not a very jumpy band, but now we are!", and it's brilliant that the band themselves can acknowledge the crazy direction that they've gone in, but seem so excited about the possibilities.
While I don't understand the appeal of The 1975's earlier music, I absolutely adore the way that their sound is changing, and I think the new direction they're heading in is extremely exciting and could do revolutionary things to the UK music scene.
Of course I enjoyed the main set closer of 'Girls', and the encore of 'Chocolate' and 'Sex', but nothing could beat the new music for me. I found 'Me' to be very interesting, and it definitely showed the respect and awe that the crowd have for the band. Matt said "I just wanna do one song where there's no phone, so I can just look at your faces. I don't wanna be grumpy, but I really want to connect with you. [...] Let's look at each other and have a lovely three minutes of being alive", and at other shows where this has been requested fans haven't paid much attention, but you could see that the focus was solely on the band for the entirety of the song. For such a connected generation to actually put their technology down and live in the moment... It feels like Matt really could be a god, for managing to make his fans do something that difficult. While the new material was what really stood out for me, I can definitely accept the fact that The 1975 are talented musicians, and they're very comfortable up on that stage doing what they do best.
I'm very, very glad that I went to this show. I didn't have high expectations, but coming out of the show I'm so hyped about the new album and I respect The 1975 much more than I did before. They got famous very quickly with not a lot of graft, so I wasn't too convinced by them - with the new material they've proved that they have a talent for writing and are not scared to take big risks, and I definitely appreciate that bravery.
The 1975's new album, 'I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It', is released in February, and I for one can't wait to hear it in full. Matt shared that the band were "a bit nervous about it", but they have nothing to be worried about. It's going to be huge.  

Love Me
Heart Out
Settle Down
So Far (It's Alright)
The City
Change of Heart
She's American
Somebody Else
The Sound

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