Concert review: The 1975 at Westpoint Exeter
Livvy Mason-Myhill, Print Deputy Editor, reviews The 1975 gig at Exeter on 10 January.
On 10 January, the hugely celebrated and widely recognised band, The 1975 performed at Westpoint Arena in Exeter. The show dubbed ‘The 1975 At Their Very Best’ was indeed a fitting title for such an amazing performance. The moment the blue curtain dropped to reveal the 1975’s house, mirroring the setting of a 90s sitcom, the arena filled with continuous screams of excitement.
The show is split into two parts, being named as a “bizarre show-within-a-show” by The Guardian, the first part involving the band showcasing songs form their newly released album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. The first part mimics a more solemn performance, beginning the setlist with their song ‘The 1975’ from their most recent album which perfectly introduces the band. During the performance, we see frontman Matty Healy smoke several cigarettes on stage and drink red wine out of the bottle, to add to his role as the arrogant and drunk rockstar.
Gaining its fame from its popularity on TikTok, ‘About You’ was one of the most highly anticipated songs from their new album that was played. As the recognisable intro for the song began to play, fans became exhilarated as they all started recording the iconic song on their phones. Giving an emotional feel to the song, Healy notably reached out to touch a non-existent lover, whilst singing the line “Do you think I have forgotten?”. This is a nod to the band’s 2013 song ‘Robbers’ music video in which Healy is singing on a stage reaching out to his lover, portraying that the song is for her. This also supports the idea that ‘About You’ is a sequel song to ‘Robbers’.
Specific to the Exeter gig, Healy also began to sing Elvis’ famous ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’ with the crowds singing it along with him. ‘Part of the Band’ with its symphonic strings make it a beautifully crafted song that was certainly one of the highlights of the show. ‘All I Need to Hear’ invoked many emotions, adding to a more sorrowful feel to the gig. The first part of the show finished with Healy being on stage on his own after bandmate Ross MacDonald turned off all of the lights on stage bar the one in front of Healy. Then to add to the somewhat chaotic and interpretative moments, Healy does 20 consecutive press-ups whilst images of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Margaret Thatcher, and Liz Truss flash on the television on the stage. He concludes the act by jumping into one of the televisions. This is in line with the overarching theme of the first part being centred on a take on modern masculinity.
The second part of the show is filled with many of their iconic hits from their previous albums. Healy walks through the door of the house, sporting a new outfit including a leather jacket, channelling a classic rock artist. The second part of the show involves a much more upbeat approach to the show contrasting the first part. Opening with ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’, the second part of the show proved Healy’s mastery of being a performative frontman, encouraging the crowd to start dancing and sing along with him. Other memorable songs that were played were ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ and ‘The Sound’ which got the audience jumping around and screaming along to the chorus.
Exeter was gifted with the performance of the song ‘Heart Out’ which hasn’t been played by the band since 2019. The song came from their debut album The 1975 and had several of their long-standing fans shrieking with joy, yelling “oh my god they’re doing ‘Heart Out’!” (myself included). Healy also announced that he was going to give the crowd a choice of two songs for them to play, however, he then instantly decided to “forget democracy, we’re doing ‘Paris’”, a nostalgic defining tune for the band.
Exeter was gifted with the performance of the song ‘Heart Out’ which hasn’t beeen played by the band since 2019
Of course, during ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ Healy did his well-known auto-tuned introduction before performing the song, one of the most famous lines being “don’t throw menthols on this stage. Don’t like menthols” and “don’t throw oranges on this stage, it’s not the 1500s”. At the Exeter show, Healy stated that “we need a Labour government or at least an opposition that resonates with the working class. We haven’t had that since pre-Blair and that was the early 90s. The early 90s”.
A fan favourite that was also played was ‘Somebody Else’ with its glazed synths which got the crowd swaying along to the melodies that describe a heartbreak. Meanwhile ‘Robbers’ got all the crowd to interact with the growls of Healy’s voice and romantic feel of the song. Yet unfortunately for Exeter fans, Healy did not kiss anyone during ‘Robbers’, which was surprising considering Healy’s history of kissing fans during the song at previous shows. ‘Love It If We Made It’ had everyone chanting to the energetic pop tune and relating to the line “modernity has failed us”, a reflection of the impact modern society has on people, marking it as a social anthem. The show ended with glitch-pop ‘Give Yourself A Try’, focusing on themes of growing up and forgiving yourself, a fitting song for many of the young people that made up the majority of the crowd.
The 1975’s show was certainly a night to remember with its uniqueness of a part performance, part pop-rock show. When Healy tells the crowd: “Thing is about us ladies and gentlemen… we just keep getting better!”, he is being completely truthful. Performing some of the best pop-rock songs from the past decade, The 1975 truly understand how to captivate their audience.