The 1975 at Utilita Arena

Alex Gervas reviews The 1975's show at Newcastle's Utilita Arena

Alex Gervas
21st February 2020
Image: Joe Smith
Last Sunday The 1975 preformed at the Utilita Arena with Beabadoobee as an opening act. 

Around half seven Beabadoobee came to the stage. I did not know the band before the concert, but I was glad I got a chance to see them. The 40-minute set was too short and left me wishing to hear more of the band. 

The band had an indie pop styled that at some points reminded me of Chvrches, especially during the last songs of the set. Bea Kristi’s soft tone fits perfectly with the harmonies of the song. Even when she said she messed up in the song ‘Sun More Often’ the whole set sounded perfect.

Yet the camera shots were confusing, as the angles changed too quickly to pick up anything, and for those sitting at the back, it could be frustrating. Since the sound left much to desire at the other end of the stadium, making the lyrics understandable at some points, the video would have been an incredible help. 

Then, The 1975 made a grand entrance (as expected), playing with the lights and the music. They began playing the piano minutes before coming onto stage and then “burned out” the stage lights until there was absolute darkness. 

After opening with People and the words “Rock and Roll is dead; God bless,” the band moved on while Matty Healy smoked and sung at the same time. I was surprised to see many young teens amongst the audience, which is why I felt like he could have spared the cigarettes. Still, most of the audience were on their 20s or even older for what I could see. 

Image: Joe Smith

While dancing to It’s not living (if it’s not with you), Matty recreated the video clip with a “treadmill”, which I thought was engaging and original. The back vocals and dances of the Jaiy twins made the instrumental breaks even better. In the end, it encouraged everyone to dance, as well.

But if there is anything that should be praised is the use of lights. The 1975 can play with backgrounds and use them very effectively in live shows. In the songs Fallingforyou and Somebody Else, the songs built up together with the special effects on the background. 

For People and Love it if we made it the images in the back are mostly controversial, especially for the latter. Like every time they play Love it if we made it, the song was preceded by Greta Thunberg’s speech. Displaying the lyrics in was also a nice touch for understanding the lyrics better. 

Altogether the concert was well organised, even if at some points the setlist did not make much sense. The energy of the band and dancers on stage balanced the order of the songs. Additionally, ballads were made beautiful, mixing the acoustic guitar and the violins, mainly with the ode to their friendship, while playing old clips of themselves. 

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