As the summer sun sets over the Arena (a former slaughterhouse with a history of 70’s youth activism – people campaigned to save the industrial building for cultural use) it feels like the perfect location for tonight’s guests, The 1975 along with their support PALE WAVES.
Both bands are from Manchester, and have worked together on The 1975’s label Dirty Hit, with Matty Healy and George Daniel producing PALE WAVES’ debut There’s A Honey.
As PALE WAVES (★★★★) confidently take the stage, the crowd cheers, and it becomes apparent that they are no strangers to them. People are singing along which earns plenty of smiles from the band, and the atmosphere is set. A mixture between moody rock and tunes to dance to. This band is one to watch for sure!
The fog machine is changed to an even higher setting when The 1975 (★★★★) start their set at 8.30pm with Love Me. It’s their last headliner show for I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. The rest of the tour is festival dates, and the band as well as fans are visibly enthusiastic about it, wanting to make this one special. Even though The 1975 are famous for their atmospheric light show, keeping the rest of the stage dark, the fact that it’s open air and not quite dark yet, works perfectly.
Frontman Matty Healy doesn’t speak a lot between songs, but his charisma when he does makes up for it. ‘I’m sorry I’m only speaking English‘ he apologizes ‘It’s because I’m… well, English.‘. If you watch the band during songs with the first few rows of people it’s almost like watching them exchange little inside jokes, so the lack of small-talk doesn’t affect the intimacy of the show at all. The band’s fanbase is loyal and knows their faves – as Matty introduces Loving Someone with a short speech about recent events and politics, the stage lights are set to the LGBTQ+ rainbow and reflected as the crowd holds up paperhearts in the same colors.
Fan-favorites You, She’s American, Girls, Somebody Else and Chocolate definitely stand out on the quite short setlist which was changed during the set and leaves out the band’s biggest hit Robbers. The 1975 leave the audience wanting more, but there are smiles on people’s faces.
The Arena saw plenty of dancing, and it was a worthy and ambitious ‘last show‘ nonetheless.