The 1975 @ The Amplifier

Having been brought up in a relatively small, out of the way (see: bogan) town in north Queensland, experiencing all the wonders of live music is still a novelty to me. The biggest band to come to my hometown when I was young was Evermore… need I say more?

(Side note: the Evermore concert was small enough that it was in the foyer of the auditorium rather than on a real stage, I jarred my finger on the lead singer’s guitar, and my cousin got backstage with no difficulty to tell the band that he liked their “shiny pants.”)

This, coupled with my perpetual state of being penny-less thanks to being a student (and an impulse buyer of very stupid, useless items) has been the driving force for my lack of experience with live music. 

Which means that when I do get to see bands play live, I am almost uncontrollably excited.

Last night, I got to see one of my favorite new bands, The 1975. They are a genre-ambiguous Manchester four-piece whose music (SKIP THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THE MOST CLICHED CLICHE THERE IS) really speaks to me.

Purely because I had such a lovely, lovely night and that in itself deserves its own celebration as a pocket of a few unforgettable hours, I thought that I would write about it here.

Getting into the concert itself was a wonderful fluke — having no money for tickets, I didn’t think I would be able to see them. Four hours before the concert was set to start, through connections with connections, I was able to get in for free under the proviso that I pretend to be a writer for a music magazine doing a review on the concert.

I am a rubbish liar, so up until the very front of the line (which, being the inexperienced North Queensland-bred girls we are, we were in for an hour and a half before we should have been, and actually lined up at the wrong door anyway) I was having a small freak out to my friend, Tahlia. I thought that she should pretend to be me pretending to be a reviewer to get into the concert while I pretended to be her, but she successfully convinced me that making the web of small lies bigger is the stupidest thing to do, and that I should just stop being such a wuss. We got in, no problem. 

The Amplifier, where the concert was held, is an amazing venue in Perth. It seems to open up into more and more rooms as you walk through, so that there are DJ spots, indoor and outdoor bar rooms, V.I.P areas, an overhanging upstairs and a live music stage and standing area all tucked away; a marked improvement from the front entrance of a small amphitheatre, thank you very much, Evermore.

The warm up band was pretty great, albeit unable to get the crowd moving. They were No Doubt if No Doubt toed the line between punk rock and all out rock a little more, and if Gwen Stefani rocked an outfit somewhere between Clueless and generic goth. 

By the time The 1975 advanced onto the stage, I was ready to wet my pants with excitement. So, I definitely fit in with the cooler-than-thou crowd…

Living up to their quickly growing reputation, The 1975 played amazingly. They were truly brilliant performers. The small venue was perfect for allowing the facades put on in a usual performance to fall away, effectively eradicating the boundary between performers and the audience in a way that more than allowed for direct interaction between. It was a very intimate performance, one they were evidently not used to, with lead singer Matt Healy saying to the crowd at one point that he was about to go back stage with the band, only to return when we shouted for more, as he did at the rest of their concerts, but that he had decided against it this time as there was only a tiny room and a table back there, which would make them look like “douchebags.”

Matt Healy, coupled with a cigarette and ever-present bottle of red wine, exuded stage persona and sexual charisma in a way that was eerily reminiscent of Michael Hutchence. 

Late in the show, the crowd chanted for a fan favorite song, titled Sex, until Healy laughed and stopped them, telling the girls that they were confusing the hell out of the boyfriends they had dragged along by yelling “we want sex!”

It was the kind of concert, small and enveloping, where you lose yourself in the music and the general atmosphere and just enjoy what is right in front of you and all around you rather than letting your mind wander. They captured the attention of the crowd in their opening number and didn’t release it until their last.

It was a wonderful night, with music that was one-part dense with very Tumblr-esque lyrics that made you want to run off and get a nautical tattoo (but brilliant, nonetheless) and one-part beats that took you up, up and away.

All in all, the 1975 performing intimately and engagingly to a couple of hundred people beat the hell out of my previous live music experience. Evermore, eat your heart out.

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