LIVE REVIEW: The 1975, Bonnie Kemplay, Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, 22/01/2023
Photo Credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes
The 1975 are huge, they are getting nearly as big as Matty Healy’s ego nowadays, and their latest sold-out UK tour only puts an exclamation mark next to that statement, well next to both statements.
Crowds began to rise during the immensely talented young support act Bonnie Kemplay, who played a half hour set displaying her wonderful vocals and exciting potential through her own brand of lo-fi indie. Although she was impressive, the Nottingham crowd were more than ready for the main event as the curtain rose, and the faded light of “The 1975” began to grow stronger.
As the curtain was eventually thrown down, and the show began when Matty Healy woke up from his slumber seemingly in the middle of an IKEA set on a fairly mediocre sofa, the excitement in the air was immeasurable.
The sold-out crowd were holding on to every word Healy spoke, and as he begun the set with the vast majority of tracks from the band’s latest LP Being Funny In A Foreign Language, which were received very well, especially when you consider the general success rate of established bands opening sets with six songs in a row from the new record.
Looking for Somebody (to Love) and Happiness had the room dancing, The 1975 (BFIAFL), All I Need to Hear, and Part of the Band had people listening, whilst I’m in Love With You and About You had everybody singing. Album closer and heartbreak anthem When We Are Together even reduced Matty Healy to tears.
The new album is stunning and it’s arguably even better live. All the different musical elements that the record dares to delve into, whether it be strings, percussion, acoustics or sax, every base had been covered, when it would have been easier to simply press space bar on a MacBook, the real thing sounds so much better.
As the show went on and Healy proceeded to eat raw meat and crawl through a television screen in an attempt to metaphor the impact of technology on young people, it did come across a bit strange, and certainly got people talking.
Matty Healy, the personality, will always get people talking whether you love his pretentious attitude and over the top nature, and questionable antics or not. When he talks between songs people tend to listen whether he’s spouting nonsense about masturbating, smoking, or holding onto a wine bottle for dear life throughout the whole set.
He’s what you expect live and essentially defines marmite in human form, although he is a good frontman. He gets people dancing well, and is pitch perfect throughout the performance, which he often doesn’t get credit for, especially during the softer songs such as the run of Robbers, Somebody Else, and I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes).
During this tour, The 1975 have started doing a vote towards the back end of the set by getting their sound guy to measure the volume of the audience during a vote off between four tracks. Out of the tracks: Change of Heart, Medicine, Paris, and Menswear, the crowd voted for Menswear, much to Healy’s surprise, but thankfully for some, they just played Paris as well anyway.
Both were immense, but something about the chorus “How I’d love to go to Paris again” works so attentively live. The coming and going of crowd favourite and saxophonist John Waugh throughout the show was superb, the Happiness solo, and the sax throughout If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) was breath-taking.
As the set came to a close, the ever-present fan favourites The Sound and Sex got the last dances out of everyone, and the fans eventually dispersed out marking the end of what was a brilliant night. The 1975 “At Their Very Best” tour was quite simply what it said on the tin, we can’t recommend them enough. It was one of the UK’s best 21st century exports performing in their absolute prime.
What’s not (to love)
Written By: Joe Loughran