English band The 1975 held the penultimate show at Northside on Sunday. They didn’t fail to please the crowds, thrilling with their infectious modern rock beats.
by Ella Navarro and Elizabeth Waind, photos by Giang Pham
Matthew Healy, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for The 1975, is a true showman. Jumping around the stage in his platform shoes, black skinny jeans and a ‘D.A.R.E. [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] to keep kids off drugs’ T-shirt, his black curly hair flopping around, it’s hard to draw your eyes away from him. He’s wild and he’s eccentric; in an interview with The Guardian back in 2016 he’s quoted as saying, “I am pretentious. And I’m not apologising.” Touché.
With a great opening song, Healy makes the first connection with the audience: “We love this country, thank you for coming to see us,” he says as he puffs on a cigarette and the audience cheers in response. ‘Loving Someone’ starts sounding. This electric tune is from their latest album ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’. What a title, and worthy of Healy’s quirkiness.
“Now you will hear another great song.” The audience laughs. “No, really this is a great song,” and ‘Somebody Else’ starts. We agree it’s one of the best on the album, although we can’t get enough of any of them – ‘Love Me’ is a trip to the tunes of the 80s, and we’re mad about it.
Healy must have smoked at least five cigarettes during the show, adding to that cool kid from the block attitude. “Is it getting hot in here? Or is it me that’s hot?” he imposes as he grabs the cameraman, getting so close that he’s almost sucking the lens. He tells the audience he loves to perform at festivals for several reasons, one of them being the energy of the audience. Not forgetting that “I imagine the majority of you have run out of battery on your phones by this time, so I get to see faces rather than screens.”
The band, originally from Manchester and now based in London, met at school and started making music together in 2002. Thus they go back a long way, and this certainly comes out on stage; there is a silent and unforced comfort between the four band-members, who alongside Healy include Adam Hann on lead guitar, Ross MacDonald on bass and George Daniel on drums. They released their debut album back in 2013, and since then have been gaining popularity throughout Europe and beyond. They are currently touring around Europe, and will be playing in Stockholm, Helsinki, Belfast and Dublin before the week is out.
Creating a fun and friendly dialogue with the crowd on Sunday evening, Healy kept them on their feet in anticipation for each song. Throwing his shirt off to reveal an assortment of tattoos, he exclaimed, “What? I’m just taking my shirt off because you all did too!” referring to a lively group at the front of the audience. Son of English actor and actress Tim Healy and Denise Welch, he has performance in his blood and knows how to connect with his fans, who also encouraged him further with their cheers.
Standing half-naked on the stage, he made us reflect with his next song, ‘If I Believe You’, which, touching upon religion, stands apart from the band’s other songs. You could call it a sort of cry to Jesus. Is it the lack of belief that prevents him from finding a purpose, the song questions, as he affirms he is lost. A resounding and almost spiritualistic saxophone solo gave the number a wonderful twist.
The show ended with the band’s most well-known song, ‘The Sound’, a tune with a beat that seriously gets you jumping. And so we danced like crazy for The 1975, thinking what an incredible concert we had just witnessed.
If you missed The 1975’s performance at Northside on Sunday, try and catch them at one of their upcoming gigs; find out more about dates and venues on their website.