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Live Photos + Review: The 1975 - Spark Arena, Auckland

Live Photos + Review: The 1975 - Spark Arena, Auckland

Photography by Connor Crawford / Review by Stevie Kaye / Thursday 19th September, 2019 10:46AM

The passing of Ric Ocasek this week has helped gel something I've been thinking for a while – The 1975 are probably as close as we'll get these days to a modern The Cars, with drummer and production wizard George Daniel the Ric Ocasek to Matty Healy's Ben Orr: slick pop moves made by people whose debut album was an overnight success years in the making under other guises, with songs which always find something interesting to do in what other groups would leave as dead space. Then there's their strong, bold, simple visual aesthetic, with the empty rectangle they make use of on their EP & album covers manifested itself as a gigantic neon monolith on the stage, giving Matty something to pace around and (rightly) framing George at the centre.

Their Spark Arena show was a slick affair, doling out bangers and ballads in an even-handed fashion – from the trop-pop bop of 'TOOTIMETOOTIME' (recently, delightfully covered by Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens for the BBC) with Matty dancing daffily along, a giant crowd singalong to 'Robbers', blue-haired opener No Rome returning to the stage for his very on-brand 1975 collaboration 'Narcissist', to the stadium-sized quiet storm of 'If I Believe You' (complete with an epic sax solo). When Matty announced a third of the way through the set they were playing a deep cut from one of their early EPs, I dared to hope for a second before he quashed it with "No, it's not 'Antichrist'" (famously never played live) – 'Undo' was a nice consolation prize.

Matty's lyrics, magpie-like multi-vocal bricolage of conversational fragments, snatches of overheard speech, tweets 'n' headlines 'n' the like, lost a little nuance in live performance with the crowd singing along to every word – during 'Love It If We Made It', a 'We Didn't Start The Fire' seemingly stitched of Reddit post titles, it was a little eerie to hear teenagers sing back Trumpisms like "I moved on her like a bitch" and "Fuck your feelings".


Any mixed messages were mitigated by the band using their new Greta Thunberg climate-emergency-speech-featuring otherwise-instrumental album opener to pop off stage to prep the encore, crowd-pleasing anthems 'Sex' and 'Chocolate' before closing out the night with 'The Sound', which reused the conceit of the music video – disparaging comments about the band projected in giant flashing letters behind them – as the crowd pogoed like mad.


The 1975 are returning to Aotearoa this summer as part of the just-announced lineup for
St. Jerome's Laneway Festival 2020. Click on the thumbnail images below to view a full gallery of Connor Crawford’s photographs of last night’s Tāmaki Makaurau event, with supports No Rome…


The 1975
The 1975
The 1975
The 1975
The 1975
The 1975

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Links
facebook.com/CrawfordxPhotography/
the1975.com/

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