- 31 Aug 19
The Manchester lads ran circles through Stradbally at a rate of 14 songs an hour.
If you didn't make it to the Main Stage or - worse yet - you weren't lucky enough to score tickets to the sold out Electric Picnic this year, let me fill you in: The 1975 absolutely slayed it out there. An hour into their set and they had already blasted through an impressive 14 songs, with time to spare for some love and attention for the audience. It wasn't until the 6th song that they took a breather from the song and dance madness up there and frontman Matt Healy finally introduced the band.
Opening with their newest song, 'People', the frontman did his part in getting the audience ready to rally for night two of Electric Picnic. And boy, did the crowd reciprocate. Head boppers be shamed - The 1975 commands real dancing and Healy insisted upon it with multiple inspiring dance moves of his own. He even pulled out a pair of dancers every so often and whether or not he had his guitar in hand, he'd be remiss if he was caught without those hips moving.
It's clear this setlist was curated with festival season in mind - every song was somehow a singalong, even if you didn't know the words. The harder songs had the lyrics emblazoned on the screens, but most of them were easy to nail by the second chorus. During fan favourite, 'The City', a saxophonist emerged from the fog for a thrilling solo - indeed, saxophones can be thrilling if you're at a The 1975 concert.
And before you ask: yes, he wore the beanie from the music video when he sang 'Sincerity is Scary'.
Healy joked while introducing the funky 'Love Me' that he often struggles between his proper English upbringing that forces him to only be embarrassed of himself, and his need to be a rockstar.
"We're the greatest rock band in the world and we're not even a rock band," he said incredulously.
He perfectly illustrated his internal struggle, switching between his killer dance moves and shyly swinging his hips and twirling his hair. A little later it seemed as though he might have bumped his earpiece as he was fidgeting with it a lot during 'I Couldn't Be More In Love'. Have no fear though, because nothing could stop Matt Healy tonight.
The pride flag lit up the Main Stage screens for the catchy, danceable tune 'Loving Someone', which was dedicated to LGBTQ+ of the audience. Bassist Ross MacDonald was flipping his hair as hard as the group of fans scream-singing next to me, and trust me, that's saying a lot. Sadly, the song had to end eventually and the rainbows faded to black.
'I Like America and America Likes Me' was a particularly noteworthy moment of the first half of the set. After all, it's not a The 1975 concert if the lads don't get political, right? Rifles flashed on the screens as Healy crooned, "I'm scared of dying / No gun required". A chilling moment, but one of ever-increasing relevance. And what's good music if it doesn't bring us together for a common cause?
Of course, the super classics like 'Somebody Else' and 'Girls' were big hits with the crowd. Healy even curated a mini dance-off between the left and right sides of the stage during the former, and let the audience sing the entire first verse of the latter.
Between songs, the crowd went into what seemed like the hundredth 'olé olé olé' chant of the weekend, which Healy wasn't particularly fond of. "I need you to help with this next one. Put your voices to better use," he begged, before pulling out his acoustic guitar and delving into 'I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)'. Needless to say, the crowd happily obliged.
The 1975 brought us back down to earth with their latest eponymous song featuring Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. "Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced," boomed Thunberg's voice as inquisitive synths laid in the background. It's the leadoff song of their upcoming album and, along with much of their song choices for this set, suggest that the lads will have a lot to say.
What song could have closed the set better than the infinitely catchy 'The Sound'? Healy demanded one last jumping frenzy and the crowd surely delivered. Just like in the music video, the screens were plastered with all the negative comments The 1975 received when they started out, proving that they are indeed the greatest non-rock rock band in the world right now. As they say: Rock & Roll is dead, God bless The 1975!
Check out the photos from their set here.