The 1975, Ratboy: Liverpool Guild of Students, Liverpool University

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The 1975 at Liverpool University

The 1975 at Liverpool University

Mancunians The 1975 kick off their tour in Liverpool, Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald reports from a sweltering evening at the Guild of Students.

The last time Liverpool Guild Of Students saw a crowd beset with such unbridled and unfettered slavish devotion was back in February when Ryan Adams played to a packed, hot and sweaty house. Tonight saw an excited fervour spread throughout the room as the crowd grew. Anxious and expectant gaggles of girls joined swathes of skinny jeaned lads with Harry Styles haircuts in eager anticipation of the arrival of this ridiculously popular band.

Some of these fans had even spent the previous night sleeping outside, so keen were they to be down at the front to witness Matt Healy‘s band of brothers. Or are they?  From the very off, one thing remains clear. It’s all about Matt. Just Matt. On the band come, short hair and black clothes. After a decent amount of ‘frontman delay’ to set the mood, on walks Healy, all long shaggy locks and clad in white linen, almost Christlike in his self obsession.

Tellingly, the first song is Love Me, and that’s kind of the vibe for the rest of this admittedly hit packed set. The crowd are more than up for this, though, and love him they do. In all but venue, this is an arena gig, the lyrics are sung at the band and gesticulated with thousands of hands in the air, and there isn’t a single second of this 16 song set that isnt captured on hundreds of phones. Confusion reigns in the shaking heads of the older generation. Tickets were begged, borrowed, and stolen to get these most hardcore fans in tonight, such was the unprecedented demand, yet so many find it preferable to film it on a phone, snapchatting away with uncontrolled abandon. Strange. The times, they are clearly a-changing.

Find out about upcoming shows with our Winter gig guide

The set features mainly tracks from 2013’s The 1975 album, as well as some of the newer material from their forthcoming record. The new stuff is heavy on the U2-like atmospherics, maybe as a result of too much time spent in LA recently, and for a brief spell, the palm-of-the hand vibe of the earlier part of set is completely lost. The crowd disperses in search of fresh air and to cool down, which kinda flattens the previously tightly held electric mood.

Obviously, they pick it up towards the end, Girls, and encores of Chocolate and Sex, where the atmosphere goes well and truly off in impressive and monumental fashion. Unashamedly sweet bouts of singalong pop music, performed by an accomplished group of musicians who spend no time whatsoever looking at each other, buzzing off each other’s contribution, preferring as they do, to merely contribute their individual parts.

Apart from Healy, of course, who preens and swoons at his own sheer bloody wonderfulness at every and indeed any opportunity. It’s all about him. It’s all about him, baby. A peculiar set, by an astonishingly popular band, with an obsessive and impressive fan base. They absolutely smashed it, for sure. There is no doubt that the majority of the crowd will remember this night for years to come, we’re sure. Maybe it’s an age thing, but this correspondent found it all a little soulless and clinically cynical at every turn.

Ratboy sparked the night off with a short set of his trademark rythmic rants about dropping his kebab and missing the bus. Tales of small town working class rituals. Being laughed at by scallies, bumming ciggies at bus stops, losing your job at Wetherspoons, that kinda thing. All layered over a barrage of analogue synth stabs and samples, and an over reliance on the worlds loudest drum machine. The bands faces were far fresher than the themes on discussion here, and the hype certainly appears to be outweighing the tunes, as he offers up all his best ideas in the first three songs. Samey, samey. Sorry. We don’t get it.

A weird evening. Home for Horlicks.

Pictures by Getintothis‘ Michelle Roberts.

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