Live Review: The 1975 @ TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht – 4.10.14

Lately, there’s been an increase in the amount of credible artists who have ended up falling into the claws (and through the filtered iPhone lenses) of millions of teenage girls worldwide. The trend began in 2013 with Bastille, with Manchester quartet The 1975 currently holding the title. Spotting a fan of the Matt Healy-fronted group is very easy, with their energetic live shows also consisting of 90% females. Following the release of their self-titled debut album in 2013, the band are currently bringing two intense years of touring to an end with a tour though Europe. Having kicked off in Paris on Friday (together with the Hamburg trio Pool), the tour hit Utrecht’s TivoliVredenburg last night.

Hamburg trio Pool took to the stage just after 8:15pm with their eclectic mix of summer indie rock, which is both completely anthemic and completely danceable at the same time. From the moment David Stoltzenberger’s funky basslines made their way through the speakers during the likes of Harm, the whole crowd was on their feet. The crowd was clearly there for The 1975, but that didn’t seem too much of a problem for Pool as they immaculately won over the crowd with their music. Despite having been at it for almost 10 years, Pool are only just starting to make waves now and definitely have the potential to be massive.

A short 30 minutes later The 1975 took to the stage amongst masses of screams and screens lighting up throughout the TivoliVredenburg’s Ronda room, as the band kicked off with The City and its grimey synth lines. A chorus of “yeah you wanna find love and you know where the city is” had the whole room singing back note perfect and word for word, something which was everpresent the whole show. B-side Milk followed, before the ambient synths of M.O.N.E.Y. led the crowd into handclaps as Healy sang of racism, drugs and violence. EP track So Far (It’s Alright) kept the show at a slower pace with a sweet piano melody and more ambient synths entering the foreground, as Talk! went on to get the crowd on their feet and singing at the top of their lungs. The repeated opening line of “why do you talk so loud?” saw an extremely drunk Healy swaggering across the stage as he casually picked up gifts out of the crowd. Alongside various hand-drawn images of Healy himself, two bags of weed and a selection of cigarette’s and wristbands also made it into the reckless frontman’s hands as he claimed it was one of his favourite cities ever. This is a cliché we’re all aware of, but it was good enough for the young crowd to start screaming even louder. She Way Out’s classic indie rock guitars and lovelorn lyrics became an instant live classic before the chorus got everyone dancing, before short interlude An Encounter encompassed ambient, arpegiating synths and bleeping, space age noises. Fan favourite Settle Down was the first highpoint of the night, featuring more classic indie rock melodies and a 1975-by-numbers chorus ready for the big arena stages of the future. New single Heart Out saw a guest saxophonist join the band onstage as he magnificently belted out the songs jazzy solo, also staying onstage for following track Pressure to pull another fantastic jazzy solo out of the bag. The use of a live saxophonist (who happens to be a close friend of the band) really enhances the live sound, as they could’ve easily chosen for a backing track instead (something which they do for other parts of the show). The synth-laden Me saw Healy ask the crowd if they would touch him inappropriately by sitting on the edge of the stage, which saw a massive crowd surge to the front to get a piece of the recklessly talented frontman. He also went on to ask every single person in the crowd to put away their phones for 1 song, backing up his argument with the claim that he wanted a nice memory of the show. He went on to contradict himself during the outro, as he asked everybody to get their phones out and light up the venue. Although a lot of their lyrical content covers the likes of drugs, alcohol, violence and sex it doesn’t seem to faze the young teenage crowd as much as it should, which is slightly worrying to an extent.

Electronic love ballad fallingforyou saw the pace slow even more, which made for a dip in quality midway through the show that really could’ve been avoided had the band not put their 3 most energetic songs in the last 4 songs of the evening. You preceded another ambient interlude in HNSCC, as Healy walked up and down the balcony swigging a bottle of premium red wine and smoking a cigarette thrown onstage by a fan. This was definitely the visual highpoint of the show, as immense strobe lights changed patterns and remained exciting for the duration of the song. Penultimate main set track Menswear remained quite calm for the most part, before a dancier outro made way for the uber-energetic Girls. The funky, Nile Rodgers-esque guitar and bass combination accompanied lyrics concerning girls, heartbreak and one particular 17 year old girl on Healy’s mind. The band proceeded to leave the stage shortly afterwards, returning for an encore which kicked off with the tearjerker-meets-anthem Robbers. Its memorable riff and ear shattering shout of “now everybody’s dead!” made Robbers the highlight of the night as the whole crowd sang the outro in perfect unison. Breakthrough single Chocolate followed with its upbeat, poppy nature and catchy chorus, before Sex closed the show with a full-on rock out which featured plenty of strobing and distortion. Leaving the stage to plenty of screams and crying girls surging forward for a guitar pick or drumstick ensured that the show was a certain success.

If you’re going to see The 1975 live, keep in mind that you’re going to have to be content with a crowd full of screaming ‘fangirls’ who will do anything to get as close to the stage as possible. 70-odd girls were in the queue from 6am, having avoided any food or drink the whole day to ensure good places. Despite dragging on for too long around the middle, the show was fantastic from a musical and visual perspective, yet the crowd was absolutely dire. The next time this band play in Holland, the venue will hopefully be double the size and fully able to show off The 1975’s ability at pulling off a class live show. For now though, this was just the right setting for a band who are just about to enter their prime. It’s only up from here.