Being announced as headliner replacements material less than two weeks before an event is due is not an ideal situation for any artist or band, but The 1975 just don’t seem the type of band who are likely to lose much sleep – if any – over such news.
The band are famous for unveiling some of the most pioneering visuals at their live shows. Often the situation is one where state-of-the-art stage designs conjure up ground-breaking, glitzy technology that is previously unseen. Being tasked with the challenge of closing the festival comes with high expectations, and the Manchester band were under pressure to come up with the goods.
And they did. With an aim to lift the festival goers, the vibe at Reading was entertaining from the word go, as The 1975 gave the crowd the ultimate, crowd-pleasing set of delirious pop bangers. Confident to the extreme, the set was fully charged with self-irony, fun, and moments of quirkiness.
Attentively, addressing the punters throughout the performance, singer and frontman Matty Healy expressed regret about Rage Against The Machine’s absence, proclaiming to “fucking love” the Los Angeles band, who had to pull out due to a medical issue that involved singer Zack de la Rocha. Healy said they would have done a RATM cover, but if the situation had been reversed “they definitely wouldn’t do that.”
With a setlist that included songs from the band’s four studio albums, the group’s career-spanning show focused on big hits such as ‘Sex’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, ‘The Sound’ and ‘Robbers’. Starting out with a breezy pop rendition of ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know), grungy, more rocky ground was covered with tracks like ‘Sex’ and ‘People’.
Shifting between dark-heavy and pop-tastic euphoria, The 1975 gave an exhilarating performance that did truly the trick, closing Reading on a high, entertaining note.
Words: Susan Hansen
Photography: Ben McQuaide