Healy and co triumphed during their headlining performance.
Midway through The 1975‘s triumphant Parklife homecoming headline set, Matty Healy addresses the crowd, eyes glinting with righteous fury. “Theresa May needs to resign,” he demands. “She needs to stop squatting in Number 10 with a coalition that sounds like an STI.” He’s referring to the Prime Minister’s Faustian pact with Northern Ireland’s controversial Democratic Unionist Party. Emphasising again the party name’s resemblance to a venereal disease, he shudders: “I don’t want DUP.”
It’s the latest salvo in a set that is, by turns, emotional, politically-charged, and riotous. Before The 1975 perform, tribute to is paid to the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack on 22 May. Members of the police, ambulance and fire services who were involved in helping on that tragic night are joined by the new Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, who praises the throng; “The fact you’re here shows we’re not going to be beaten.” It’s a defiant message taken up by Healy himself. Striding onstage, he hugs Burnham before proclaiming: “I think we’ve all spent a lot of time mourning since what happened. “But this is a music festival and we’ve had our silence. We didn’t want to do a moment of silence, we wanted to do a moment of noise.”
“As these people leave the stage,” he continues, gesturing to the emergency services, joyously filming themselves on iPhones, “in celebration of what they’ve done, let’s have a moment of going fucking mental.”
Suffice to say, the audience are louder than a pensioner’s telly. Signalling normal business has been resumed by ceremoniously lighting up a cigarette, Healy and co launch into usual opener ‘Love Me’, bathed in a pink hue. After urging Theresa May to fall on her sword – which is met with pro-Corbyn chants – he says: “One of the reasons the Tories campaign didn’t work is because all the young people showed up and said bollocks to that – bollocks to nationalism,” before playing ‘Loving Someone’.
But it’s not all world affairs. “Right fuck politics, let’s have a dance!”, Healy commands, as the lurid, sax-assisted ’80s yacht -rock of ‘She’s American’ strikes up. As the quartet near the end of touring ‘I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ – and fresh from a sell-out Madison Square Garden show – they’re a slick stadium behemoth. Bare-chested (“Is he taking his top off because he thinks he’s a rock star? Is it because he is a rock star? Is it because he’s too hot?” he quips knowingly), Healy peacocks around. making expert use of the roving cameras filming the show – seriously, if he made love to the lens any more effectively, it would need to be tested for chlamydia (or, er, DUP) – during ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’,and, as has become customary, he urges millennials to live in the moment and put away their phones.
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Heralded by an extended house-workout intro, euphoric set-closer ‘The Sound’ sees Parklife reflecting the tongue-twister word-of-the-day lyrics “A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe,” back with such force that when Healy beams “We do this a lot and it never feels like this,” you actually believe him.