Photo: Shaun Counihan
O2 Academy Brixton, London
March 5 2016
Words: Izzy B
There would always be another band coming along to fill the dreams and fantasies of teen girls everywhere after the departure of One Direction. The 1975 seem to have filled the vacant post. Somehow this Manchester band has risen in just the last two years to become one massive global brand, dominating charts, airwaves, blogosphere, social media and just about everywhere else; crowned by their preposterously titled new album, 'I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It' topping the album charts at number one in its release week.
They hit London, not just for a mere one night, but hogging the south-London Academy venue for a run of five consecutive sold out nights. It's a big, lengthy set that starts with 'Love Me', and ends on a four-song encore, after having taken in sex, love and chocolate on the way.
Whether Matty Healy, the band's charismatic prima donna frontman does it for you or not, he has mined a rich vein of seductively enticing, yet paradoxically, boyish, stage persona and the ability to write and perform songs which prove intoxicating. When uttering lines like "I read between the lines/And touched your leg again, again/I'll take you one day at a time" ('Fallingforyou'), and "I don't want your body/But I hate to think about you with somebody else/Our love has gone cold/You're intertwining your soul with somebody else" ('Somebody Else') as they follow each other, it seems to be more than most of the young female fans can take too, as the the huge well of the Academy's floor vibrates with the intensity of screaming adolation; by the time of the frenzied main set close on 'Sex' ("And she said use your hands and my spare time/We've got one thing in common/it's this tongue of mine"), there's nothing dry in the house.
Healy dances around the stage with all those coquettish mannerisms, floppy hair, and hands, when not running through the tousled curls, are reaching for the glass of red wine kept nearby (you can bet that's not cheap supermarket plonk, either). But as the band runs through all 23 set songs you realise what a strong back catalogue they have, taking in seven numbers from their 2013 debut album, assorted EP tracks, right up to a whole ten tunes from the new record. For the encore they mix up the old and new with 'If I Believe You', 'Chocolate', 'The Sound', and draw to a close on 'Girls' that almost causes structural damage to the venue's roof by the crowd's ear-splitting reception.
Goodbye Harry Styles, hello Matt Healy.