A band with a ‘love them or hate them’ feel, The 1975 gave you no choice but to love them at their Glasgow show. Opening with their self-titled intro track from Being Funny in a Foreign Language, they had the crowd in their grasp from the jump. Split into two acts, the ‘At Their Very Best’ tour is seemingly a love letter to performance with a mix of political commentary, satirical masculinity, and a whole lot of entertainment.
Taking place on a sit-com style set of a house, the band’s introduction is shown on screen in the form of a 1980’s TV show theme sequence. Front man, Matty Healy, references the audience letting them know how fake the set is (breaking a fourth wall that was never built). It all feels very Truman Show, a demonstration of a completely unreal reality. Healy’s stage presence was supported all the while by a lit cigarette in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, playing the role of a stereotypical, egocentric rockstar.
In act 1 they play songs mainly from their recently released album. With the tracks touching on themes like toxic masculinity and modern political standpoints, the stage and setting – though possibly complex and uncomfortable for some – is a perfect fit.
Carrying the energy from act 1 over into act 2 is assisted by Healy’s demonstration of run-of-the-mill masculine behaviours. He eats raw meat (something he’s now infamous for) sitting in front of a small television playing clips of political figures and royals. He then removes his shirt and does push-ups, before crawling through a smoking television, leading the audience into act 2 with him.
What follows in act 2 is a cascade of their biggest hits, justifying the name ‘At Their Very Best’. Getting the crowd jumping with the first song, ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let me Know)’, almost feels like an attempt of clawing the audience back from the quirky and heavy hitting first act. Healy’s persona also shifts from drunk and arrogant rockstar, to a new, fun and capable pop singer.
With notable plays of fan favourite songs, ‘Chocolate’, ‘Robbers’, ‘Somebody Else’, and ‘The Sound’ before closing with dance-inducing track ‘Give Yourself a Try’, the audience is left with mixed emotions. Led through somewhat uncomfortable scenes of fragile masculinity, school shootings, and political fallouts all in the first hour, before being hit with an onslaught of dance-heavy tracks. Despite these contrasting tones, it was almost impossible to leave feeling disappointed, with the showmanship turned to 100, the crowd got what they ultimately came for, The 1975 at their very best.
Words by Isla McColgan