The Ritz, Manchester
21st September 2013
Having recently achieved a UK Number 1 spot with their debut album, The 1975’s popularity continues to grow rapidly. With extensive touring laid out in front of them, including two hometown shows at Manchester Academy in January, I was glad to see the band perform again in a relatively small venue. One thing is for certain, with the strong fanbase these guys have accumulated so far, the only way is onwards and upwards.
The Ritz is absolutely packed – more filled out than I’ve ever seen it before – and the temperature is heating up before the gig has even started. The lights begin to dim and suddenly the room is filled with the sounds of ‘The 1975’, the opening track of the band’s self-titled debut. Huge cheers and whistles quickly drown out the music as the Mancunian four-piece enter the stage. Without a word, The 1975 open their set with debut single ‘The City’. There is an immense energy emanating off the stage and into the audience. It is clear from the onset that this is going to be a fantastically atmospheric show.
Frontman Matt Healy takes a glug of red wine straight out the bottle as the band begin to play ‘So Far’, to which the crowd encouragingly sing along. By now, the venue is filled with a sweltering heat – which only intensifies with each track. The bands vocal harmonies are pitch perfect throughout ‘Head.Cars.Bending’ and the audience belt out the lyrics whilst throwing themselves around as if they’re having seizures.
Healy works the crowd as the rest of the band play the opening of ‘Robbers’ as a backing track to his address. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are The 1975 and we’re from fucking Manchester! We’ve been away, but we return with a number one album… and that’s thanks to you guys. So let’s go!” It’s clear that ‘Settle Down’ is a sure crowd pleaser, as the room erupts into a sea of dancing figures. ‘Heart Out’ follows, yet another fan favourite, and lit up faces can be seen singing back the lyrics from every angle.
As with a lot of bands just making it big, The 1975 always express their gratitude towards fans coming to their gigs. Yet, you can’t help but listen to Healy’s excessive kind words and believe that he means every single one of them. “Manchester, you have no idea how long we’ve worked for this show. Eight months ago we sold about 100 tickets for a show at Sound Control and we return to Manchester Academy in January, so thank you so much for that!”. Wiping the sweat from his face, he observes, “…there’s a lot of girls in here this evening. This song is for you.”. His charm and charisma work a treat, as countless females clamber on top of their boyfriends shoulders in hope of earning a cheeky wink from one of the band members. It would appear ‘Girls’ is a definite favourite with the ladies…
‘Robbers’ brings a calm down in pace. Normally at a gig I would expect to see a good few individuals nip to the bar or for a toilet break during a slower number, but I am surprised to find that everyone stays put, glued to their spot, simply singing along intently and slow motion moving to the beat. Things gear up once again as Healy asks, “Manchester, are you ready?” before counting the band into their top 20 single ‘Chocolate’. Clearly the biggest highlight of the night so far for the fans, The Ritz explodes into a whistling frenzy and the crowd take full control over the lyrics.
After an uproar and applause of the highest magnitude, the band leave the stage. No more than ten seconds later and the crowd have already started an impatient clap and the odd chant of “We Want Sex!” can be heard from a few individuals. They are referring to, of course, the band’s latest single, and with a change of lights the boys return to the stage to deliver just that. Whilst a select few begin preparing an almighty pit, others scrap over Healy’s discarded clothing and the remaining audience bounce to the rhythm and scream out the lyrics “she’s got a boyfriend anyway”.
As gracious as always, Healy exclaims, “Manchester, if we see you in January we will look forward to it. If we never see you again, have a wonderful night, have a wonderful life. Thank you.” Ending their set with the melodic ‘You’, it proves to be the perfect wind down track to round off a brilliantly explosive evening.
All words by Alana Turk. More of Alana’s writing for Louder Than War can be found here.