Live review: The 1975, Night Engine, MMX at ABC, 17/9/13

The 1975  @ ABC Sept13  08It’s easy to see why London four-piece Night Engine were picked to support The 1975; both bands provide the perfect balance of moody synth electronic sounds, and super jazzy energetic pop.

Had the 80’s era been cooler, this is what it would have sounded like.

First act MMX begins to draw attention away from bars and cloakrooms as the venue starts to fill.

Cool vocals and an electro feel encourage head bobs and sways of approval from the growing crowd.

Bathed in fluorescent purple light, giant disco ball glittering, the scene looks and sounds like the perfect prom for Twin Peaks high school.

Cheers greet Night Engine and it’s straight in to ‘Treat Me Like A Baby’, with vibrato vocals rocked up by synth and quickening drum beat.

After teething problems from the PA system, the levels of vocals and guitars are fixed and second song ‘Give Me A Chance’ gets a great reception from the now packed crowd.

Like their EP, the performance is perfect yet still fizzing with energy, and the band clearly loves every second of it.

A long intro in to ‘Seventeen’ builds tense excitement, then pops with a yelp in to funky guitar and bass riffs.

Despite an incredible vocal performance, the lead singer maintains a laid-back cool, with strong backing vocals from the bassist.

As another yelp ends the song, singer Phil asks: “any questions?”, to which a member of the crowd replies: “who are you?”

“Ah, yes,” Phil answers calmly, “we’re Night Engine, thank you for reminding me.”

Night Engine  @ ABC Sept13 02

The band end on a high with crowd pleaser ‘Make It Worth Your While’; a fitting climax to the energetic set.

“So wake me up, I really wanna dance! So wake me up, I’ll make it worth your while!”

After the buzz of Night Engine’s performance rumbles away, some around me are impatient for the arrival of headliners, The 1975.

Even the crew setting up the stage and lighting is enough to evoke cheers from the crowd: “Sound check, 1, 2… 1, 2” gets a scream.

There’s an audible ‘boo’ as another CD song starts, quickly followed by screams seconds later as the lights go down and The 1975’s square logo is lit.

A recorded song begins to play and the venue is lit up by hundreds of mobile phones that begin filming in anticipation of the band taking to the stage.

Front man Matt Healy stands on the edge of the stage, seemingly in awe of the immense crowd, and it’s straight in to ‘The City’.

Dressed in uniforms of grunge black and leather, the band is only visible as silhouettes against the strobe lighting, creating The 1975’s signature monochrome visuals.

As the second chorus simmers, Healy addresses the crowd with a Cheshire accent: “alright Glasgow?”

All hands in the air, the sold out crowd is positively captivated just seconds in to the set.

The lights black out as the song ends, immediately provoking the usual Scottish boon chant: “here we, here we, here we fucking go!”

A melodic guitar riff stands alone to introduce ‘M.O.N.E.Y.’, soon layered with Healy’s vocals, which blend harmoniously with the smooth synth.

The positively buzzing crowd goes mental every time Healy stands on the edge of the stage, and they sing back every word to him.

The 1975  @ ABC Sept13  09

Lights change from monochrome to purple and yellow as ‘Talk’ begins.

The sound is perfect, the ethereal overlapping of vocals mixed with Healy’s strong yet beautifully scratchy singing.

An abrupt end and in the short gap of silence, Healy smiles broadly to deafening screams from the packed crowd.

A rocked up performance of ‘Head.Cars.Bending’ is truly electrifying.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are The 1975, this is really special for us, thank you for coming.”

The electro baseline riff intro of ‘Heart Out’ would sound at home on the Drive soundtrack.

The chorus fills the venue: “it’s just you and I tonight, why don’t you figure my heart out?”

Healy thanks the support acts and continues: “There’s a lot of girls in here…”

The crowd erupts as the ridiculously fun ‘Girls’ begins.

Everyone in view is ether wildly singing along or filming the performance or both.

The atmosphere shifts slightly for the emotional and gripping ‘Robbers’.

Healy performs difficult vocals effortlessly, with that heart-breaking scratchy edge to his voice.

In reference to asking a fan to lower a sign that was blocking the view of others, Healy says: “sorry to the boy with the sign, I didn’t mean to upset you; this is a love song, this is for you”.

‘Falling For You’ is the slowest song so far but is still very cool and electronic.

As it concludes, Healy laughs: “that was depressing, wasn’t it?”

The set ends with hit single ‘Chocolate’, greeted by a frenzy of screams and whoops; the crowd’s singing rivals Healy’s in volume.

The 1975  @ ABC Sept13  04

Moments after the bands departure, a chant begins: “WE WANT SEX! WE WANT SEX!”

The 1975 return; Healy, stripped down to a vest, takes a Polaroid of the adoring crowd.

Excitement is at an all time high as ‘Sex’ begins.

“We got one thing in common, it’s this tongue of mine/she said, oh, she’s got a boyfriend anyway.”

After a triumphant finish, Healy pauses: “from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for coming to this show”.

The band ends the encore with ‘You’.

It is so anthemic, and by the end of their set, which the band are clearly so grateful for, there is a real feeling of closeness.

The night is properly epic right from the start; I couldn’t suggest a better way to spend a few hours than with swinging hips, sweaty hair, futuristic synth riffs and 80’s guitar pop.

More photos

Words: Jessica Brown
Photos: Stuart Westwood

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