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The 1975: At their very best, live on stage in Melbourne

Review by Ebony Weston // Photography by Jordan Curtis Hughes

From a room of 300 people at the Northcote Social Club in 2014 to over 14,000 at Rod Laver Arena this week, The 1975 are a band we have watched climb through pop music over the past decade, creating eclectic sounds for every ear and changes in genres like the seasons.

The Manchester indie-pop group took the stage for their first Melbourne shows since their 2020 Laneway set and honestly, I forgot how much I loved this damn band.

If you have ever felt the sensation of excitement rise from your head to down to your toes, you would understand the screams of tens of thousands of fans as the word ‘atpoaim’ – meaning a theatrical performance of an intimate moment – lit up the big screen 15 minutes before the band were rostered to come on. A live feed from the dressing room followed Matty blasting ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC as the band shared the agonisingly long walk to stage.

Unfortunately, their iconic house set didn’t make its way to the Australian tour, but they still made their shows feel like home. Framed by a breathtaking screen and light performance, bouncier moments received appropriate strobe treatment while titanic black and white screens highlighted even the smallest moment of atmosphere for all to see. With a perfectly vintage red chair, a static record player and a cream crochet lamp, the ambience of the slower parts of the night were hard to miss.

Now the crowd: let’s discuss the intensity of The 1975 fans. In honesty, I can’t really talk, having lined up for their 2016 Festival Hall gig for over 12 hours. But the Rod Laver shows saw people lining up for Night 2 before Night 1 had even started. Sleep deprived but brimming with excitement – there was no regret as the front row screamed their hearts out.

Each night left no complaints; Night 1 encapsulating the 2013 vibes of their debut self-titled album ‘The 1975’ with a slow, moody and nostalgic setlist. Night 2 only compounded this, with some unexpected songs such as Roadkill and Me & You Together Song – the set was convivial and euphoric to say the least.

And how could we forget the people who helped give The 1975 the original sound they have today. Polly Money on guitar and backing vocals, John Waugh on the sax, Gabrielle King on percussion and Jamie Squire playing keys all blew the audience away, each contributing an invaluable puzzle piece to the elegance of the evening’s sound.

My advice to you is, dear reader, that if you haven’t been able to see this band live, or have never heard of them at all, it is well worth a listen. Even if the music may not be for you, the performance the band creates as a whole is theatric, poetic and unhinged all at once – with a smidge of cheekiness that cements them: at their very best.

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