The 1975 at 3Arena, Dublin. 10th January, 2019
What does a 50 foot iPhone, an airport-length travelator, rapidly edited footage of a world in decline, and a giant digital infinity mirror have in common? They were all part of The 1975‘s over-the-top 3Arena show.
Sensory overload shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for the Manchester quartet. However, with the release of their genre-blurring third album ‘A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships’ and a sizable production budget, they get to live out their most ambitious live fantasies yet.
Tonight is the second night of the tour and the band is keen to show off their new toys. Unsurprisingly, The 1975 opens tonight. Followed swiftly by Give Yourself a Try, complete with the oversized suit frontman Matty Healy presumably borrowed from David Byrne. The augmentation of the live visuals matches the jarring guitar tone perfectly. The bouncy afro-pop of TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME keeps the momentum before rushing straight into the bubblegum rock of She’s American.
When a set of New York townhouses appear on the giant screen and a floppy hat is donned, we know it’s time to Sincerity Is Scary. The loose-limbed flailing from the music video is brought to life live with Healy sauntering across the stage as he takes a stroll through the neighbourhood. All backed by music that’s as loose as his movements.
The night reaches its technical peak halfway through as an elevated Healy touches the static-filled screen before said screen pulls away and he walks inside, giving the illustration of him being trapped inside the screen of a giant iPhone. With Healy still ‘trapped’, the electronic interlude blends into The Ballad of Me and My Brain. An overload of visual stimuli hit us. Blueprints, literature, schematics and social media musing hit us in rapid succession and to great effect.
Musically, our highlight would have to be Love It If We Made It. The combination of stream of consciousness style lyrics outlining the state of our modern world is paired perfectly with thousands of devout fans screaming said lyrics right back. There’s a pleaing in their voices during the verses which take a more optimistic tone for the chorus as the song’s title is belted back.
If we were really to nitpick here, the show does run a tad too long but even that ties in with their online-influenced, everything all of the time aesthetic.
The band closes out tonight with a ferocious run through of Sex that feels almost humble when compared to other sections of the set. As the final notes ring out the screen lets us know with bold type that “rock and roll is dead”. Well after watching their trajectory from debut album to tonight, we might just believe them.