The 1975

support Pool
author LF date 15/10/14 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

After the release of their spectacular debut album last year, British pop rock quartet The 1975 have had more success than a debuting band could ever hope for. They have been touring the world since then and this is their second time in Denmark. This is also their first big concert here as they played the smaller venue Loppen last time. Regrettably I didn't get to see them then and since my admiration for their music hasn't faltered in the past year's time I figured it was about time. Being a hit band and all it doesn't surprise me that the show sells out fairly quickly, but the enormous queue at the venue when I arrive is still longer than expected as it stretches all the way around the building. I hear that teenage girls have been camping in line outside since the early hours of the afternoon, despite the rainy weather, and thus I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the show turns out to be dominated by fangirls with all the screaming and Iphone-filming that seems to follow inevitably.

All pictures by Peter Troest


Before tonight I have never heard of pop rock band Pool and based on this encounter, I'm honestly not too bummed about that. They are a very energetic trio covering drums, bass and guitar, while the two of them share vocal duties. At times the same two share a keyboard, while the drummer looks to be having the time of his life throughout their set, and they all mainly focus on engaging the audience. As such, I guess they manage to do what they were hired to do: get a party going for the main act. That they succeed in this task perhaps proves that they are well picked, but their success doesn't really seem to have anything to do with the quality of their music. A few songs in I notice an interesting dynamic between the different vocal styles, but it doesn't seem to resurface in the rest of their set, certainly not during some rather uninspiring parts where they decide to sing in unison instead of trying for harmonies. Their songs are very rhythmic and with the already pumped crowd of fangirls they are playing for tonight, this coupled with their "cool" party attitude seems to be enough to have at least half the venue dancing and jumping, but there is also a solid buzzing of people talking across the music more or less everywhere.


The 1975

Some of you might consider me a bit naive for this, but the fact that The 1975 are actually treated like any old boy band by the bulk of their fans, and what this really means for the atmosphere at their shows, doesn't really hit me before they take the stage tonight and play their first songs. Vocalist Matt Healy is the one mainly in focus throughout the show as the other's concentrate on playing their instruments and letting him play the showman. And that he does to great effect. Whenever he smiles, shakes his slightly chaotic, curly locks about his head or puts on a sassy dance move, the audience seems to be trying to break each other's eardrums with high-pitched noise. The band seems right at home in this setting, and as Healy wanders the stage, singing with a half-empty bottle of red wine in his hand, his chest tattoo showing from beneath his semi-open white shirt, it's not exactly that they don't embrace the audience reaction.

While the focus seems to be more on the cuteness of the band members than on their actual ability to play live, they do put on a solid concert. They play their songs expertly, covering a range of songs from their debut album, including spot-on renditions of personal favorites "Heart Out", "Robbers" and "Menswear", but also a few from their earlier EP releases, like "fallingforyou". Every song gets sing-a-longs, even the lesser known ones, while the set enders of the encore, the hit singles "Chocolate" and "Sex", of course get the most massive reaction. Healy's vocals are good tonight while not as impressive as they could have been, and as the crowd is backing him constantly, it's really obvious that the finer details in technique and pronunciation get blurred. What pleases me the most is how the band not only manages to play their songs well, but actually succeeds in giving them an extra live quality. This is achieved partly through the addition of a saxophone player on stage who gets a lot of space in the overall sound to play some really soulful melodies filled with longing. The band generally adds little tweaks to the rhythm or the riffs here and there, and this signifies a strong presence on stage that, along with their already excellently composed songs, really takes them above being just any regular poppy boy band. And exactly because of this, the kind of show experience tonight makes me a little sad.

This is a band that has so much more depth in their music, their lyrics and their attitude in general, than what I feel they get credit for in the way they are hailed tonight. For me the screaming and dancing mass of people that fill the venue can't help but hinder the way I'd prefer to connect with the band's music, especially the songs that hit me emotionally. The band's strength for me is that they seem to have stumbled unto some very rare combination of both refreshing and relatable songwriting, and some of the delicacy of this just flat out vanishes at a show like this. Despite my reservations towards these conditions of the show, the fact that they manage to momentarily grip me through songs like "Heart Out" and "Robbers" only underlines that they are indeed a talented group of people. They manage their live appearance in style, and I'm glad I was there to see them although the setting was hardly ideal for me.


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