“It’s an exciting time to be in The 1975,” frontman Matty Healy tells the crowd at the first of their two sold-out nights at London’s The O2. They picked up Best British Band, the Innovation Award and Band Of The Decade at the NME Awards 2020 just a couple of weeks ago – because at this moment in time, it feels like their each artistic endeavour could be a real game-changer.
With anthems that turn millennial dread into cathartic communal joy, choreography to challenge that of David Byrne, mind-bending visuals of memes and sloganeering, it’s definitely the most exciting time be in the same vicinity as The 1975. New songs from the upcoming ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ suggested that the best is yet to come. We’re genuinely lucky to have this band.
Check out our beautiful photos and get the lowdown on the first of Healy and co.’s two-night residency at The O2 in London.
1“Wake up, wake up, wake up…”
A generational call-to-arms, punk banger ‘People’ lands as the perfect set-opener.
2“She’s got a boyfriend anyway”
Usually the penultimate song in the set, giddy guitar banger ‘Sex’ electrifies with an early airing. The performance ends with the words ‘ROCK N’ ROLL IS DEAD’. Not quite, on this evidence.
3‘Love It If We Made It’
Thousands of people crouching down before exploding in unison to the opening line of, “Fucking in a car / Shooting heroin / Saying controversial things just for the hell of it“. You love to see it.
4‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’
“We just keep getting better,” a cocksure Healy tells the crowd as he introduces this shimmering pop from ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships‘.
5A marathon set
“Turn the lights on,” Healy shouts to the front of house crew. “Hello everybody. I would say more but we’ve got a lot to play. This is the longest set we’ve ever played”.
6‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’
Of the six new songs aired tonight, ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’, is by far the most promising cut from ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ that we’ve heard so far. The accompanying box-style TV screens reflect the track’s towering Tears For Fears-esque ’80s power-pop sonic landscape (albeit set to the very modern modern digital dilemma of being obsessed with a girl online). It’s got ‘future single’ written all over it.
7Then there’s ‘Guys’
Another unreleased newbie to be airedL the heartfelt, acoustic-led ‘Guys’. Playing vintage on-the-road footage of the band in their earliest days on the road to success, this is a love song to youth, friendship and sticking together. “The moment that we started a band / Was the best thing that ever happened,” Matty softly croons in the chorus. As the hardcore fans in the front row wipe away their tears, Healy shares some golden advice: “Look after your friends.”
8An ode to youth
“That song was for 16-year-old me,” Healy tells the crowd between ‘Guys’ and ‘Robbers’. “This one is for 16-year-old you.”
9The boy with a box tattooed on his arm…
Adam Hann: master shredsman.
10Fans like these
Not a dry eye in the house.
11Ross The Boss
The ever-calm and collected bassist Ross MacDonald there.
12Give it up for George
Expect to hear a lot more from The 1975’s co-producer and co-writer George Daniel. Healy recently promised he’s making “a Matty record and George is doing a George record“, with each of them producing the other’s album. Bring it on.
13‘The Birthday Party’
A country song for the digital age, ‘The Birthday Party’ has only been out for a few days, but is immediately received like an old friend.
14Bringing the banjo back
Only Adam could make the banjo cool again.
15Screen it from the rooftops
“That used to be a joke,” says Healy after he name is repeatedly shown across the huge screens to encourage a chant from the sold-out crowd. “I’m not sure if it still is.”
16‘A Frail State Of Mind’
The ballad becomes and anthem for everyone’s hangover the next day.
17Meeting his public
Matty got up-close and personal with the crowd.
Introducing this classic from the second album, Healy revealed: “This song is about my fractured ego as a 30-year-old white man.”
19Matty is a punk rocker
The frontman’s new ‘do in silhouette.
20‘Sincerity Is Scary’
Matty’s rabbit hat: already iconic.
21“It takes a bit more you…“
Midway through the set we were treated to a real highlight: the aching post-rock of early tracks ‘Milk’, ‘fallingforyou’ and second-album deep cut ‘Lostmyhead’. Here’s hoping The 1975 come good on their promise to play gigs that represent each of their different eras.
22Give yourself a try, Matty
Oh, you already have.
23Matty and his digital self
Pretty meta, huh?
24Throw your fans up
’75ers light up the sky.
25Drink it in.
Matty pauses to reflect at the end of one of the finest shows we’ve ever seen from this band.
26“It is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel”
“You can talk, but don’t heckle me for about five minutes,” said Healy before he paced the stage as Greta Thunberg’s spoken-word missive about climate change blared from the speaker during the track ‘The 1975’. Many in the audience raised their fists in act of sobering solidarity. This is the band we need right now.
27The 1975 played:
‘Me & You Together Song’
‘Sincerity Is Scary’
‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’
‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’
‘I Couldn’t Be More in Love’
‘Frail State of Mind’
‘The Birthday Party’
‘I Like America & America Likes Me’
‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’
‘The 1975 (NOACF)’
‘Love It If We Made It’
‘Give Yourself a Try’