Live Review: The 1975 w/ Cub Sport @ Sydney Olympic Park
Fresh off their huge Splendour set, The 1975 hit Sydney Olympic Park with a warehouse style gig and unfortunately that was all it was – a sterile, noisy experience with no connection and no warmth. The whole night there was something off about the gig. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was the band’s post-Splendour comedown, but they just did not live up to the energy of their latest album.
The night started with 2012 Laneway triple j unearthed winners Cub Sport, who took the stage to an almost empty room. Unfortunately for the Brisbane-based band the venue was hard for fans to reach and made worse by the fact that trains were not running to the venue. It meant that their act was seen by only a handful of the people that would eventually arrive in time for The 1975. Cub Sport played a solid set with music and energy that connected with the audience despite the large and empty venue, and proved why they have been chosen to play at music festivals across the world.
The 1975 performed a set at Splendour that had punters walking away saying “they killed it” and “one of the best shows I saw on at the festival”. Maybe it was these high praises that set my expectations too high, but it was not a memorable set.
Love Me was a great opener and set the tone for the rest of the night. The band performed with high energy but unfortunately were battling uphill with the terrible acoustics of the arena. The normally polished band sounded like a high-school garage band, admittedly with perfect command of their instruments. The teen audience was also screaming every note, often making it hard to hear the lead singer’s vocals.
The younger audience was an interesting aspect to the evening. The older crowd would have seen them at Splendour, so this show was full of the 16 to 20-year-olds, each with their smartphones out videoing the entire performance. It even got to a point that lead singer Matthew Healy, asked the audience to put their phones away and just appreciate this one song without a screen dividing the viewer from the band.
After this stripped back song it was business as usual, with the audience filming but at least also showing their appreciation by singing along with all the words. Healy did little to interact with the fans but they seemed more than satisfied with his Mick Jagger-esque stalking and pouting around the stage.
They played some of their hit songs from their 2013 debut studio album ‘The 1975’ including Me, Heart Out, and Falling For You. However, Healy’s vocals and swagger did not match the band behind him. The slower songs dragged along and seemed to even bore Healy, who only really came alive when he could dance around the stage.
The physical set was a great combination of LED pillars displaying colours and graphics that matched the floor to ceiling LED screen behind it, but when the backdrop stole the show it was obvious that the band were flagging.
It was their encore that resonated best with the audience, but it was a pity it took most of the show for the band to come alive. Chocolate, The Sound, and Sex were the last three songs and also the best of the set. The pace of the band and Healy finally matched the energy and liveliness of the audience, and it was an electrifying moment that salvaged an otherwise underwhelming night.
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Photos by Vincent Shaw