Something I will always openly hate is seeing some of my favourite bands becoming huge. Moving from underground intimate venues packed with diehard fans to huge arenas is somewhat crushing and tough to accept. Unfortunately though, it’s not at all preventable when one of your favourite bands is inexplicably talented.
‘This isn’t King Tuts, is it?’ No Matty, it certainly isn’t. It’s the SSE Hydro and it’s almost at full capacity. And it breaks my heart. The first time I ever seen The 1975 was at The Barrowlands. The Barrowlands is an all standing music venue in Glasgow that everyone’s grandparents used to go to back in the day when it was a dancehall. It holds around 2000 people – it’s small and dingy, there are colourful wooden stars glued to the ceiling, its sweaty but it is the world’s best gig venue. A lifetime away from the commercialised SSE Hydro.
The Hydro simply put, is f*cking huge. There is no intimacy, very little band/artist to crowd connection and depending on where you are in the venue, you’ll be lucky if you can see without the assistance of huge screens at the sides of the stage. I had my ticket for Monday night and I couldn’t have felt less thrilled about it but I knew I’d regret not going.
The setlist was a fair mix of both albums – ‘The 1975’ and ‘I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ but a few of my personal favourites from both albums were missing. I feel like playing a lot of songs that are staples for hardcore fans is something that is very much off limits in huge venues. Not every fan has been there since the EP days. Undoubtedly, a lot of fans in attendance will have fallen in love with the band since the release of their second record back in February, some others will only be fond of a few songs but fancied going along anyway.
Regardless, The 1975 know how to put on a good show and this one was no exception.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the visuals of their shows. Matty’s friend Tobias works alongside the band to create visuals that coincide with the feel and mood of the song playing. Sometimes it is static blocks of colour and others have careful videography. Alongside the lighting and music, the visuals help to make it feel like more of a show production than just a music gig and it’s pretty f*cking special. If you can’t appreciate the music, you can definitely appreciate the visual aesthetics of the show.
The 1975 get a bit of a rep as being a band for unruly teenage girls, and yes, while a large chunk of their fanbase encourage this stereotype, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. If you follow any of the band on Twitter, particularly Matty, you’ll know how passionate he gets about politics. Prior to ‘Loving Someone’ he dedicated the song to the younger members of the crowd, specifically those who have ‘legitimate concern about society, not just with gender or race or age or education. Those who are young and liberal and compassionate and clever. To anyone who feels particularly disenfranchised – in particular minorities, gay people, muslim people, black people.’ In a world where a lot of young people don’t give two sh*ts about politics, it’s encouraging to see a band speak so openly to a large crowd about issues causing regression and inequality. It was even more encouraging to see the crowd respond so positively. I really do love Glasgow sometimes.
The encore was pretty amazing, despite a girl in front of me having a seizure during the longest and slowest song of the show (Medicine) and her best friend simultaneously have a panic attack because she didn’t know what to do. Furthermore, medics weren’t really rushing to help either of them. Then a further 4 girls were pulled over the barrier for fainting. Kinda ruined the special moment of the whole venue being lit up by iPhone flash lights, y’know? I still enjoyed it, somewhat. They carried on with ‘If I Believe You’ – my favourite song off of the second album, the introduction of gospel singers to the stage made it even more powerful than it already is. Finally they finished with two more upbeat songs to leave the crowd on a high – ‘Chocolate’ (if you don’t laugh and dance about to enjoy it, you’ll cry) and ‘The Sound’ (due EVERYONE jumping around like big idiots – AMAZING).
While I don’t necessarily love The Hydro (not just in terms of music, the staff are useless and the general set up of the building is atrocious), it’s hard not to enjoy a show put on by The 1975. As much as the ‘I’m at a gig where you can dance to every song but I’m going to stand like a statue and refuse to sing along’ and the ‘oh my god I am so wasted on a school night!’ population of the crowd were remarkably annoying … I didn’t regret going. I knew I wouldn’t.
I just hope that the band don’t get too fond of these larger set ups.