For years now, Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory has harboured the best emerging local and international talent. Last night was no exception, as British indie-pop outfit The 1975 continued their maiden voyage across Australia, having already reached sizeable commercial success within Europe.
The sold-out venue was already fogging up before the band even appeared. Dressed like General Pants poster boys with haircuts to match, a clear division was struck between music-lovers and ‘fans’ as soon as the quartet walked onstage.
Illuminated by an image-appropriate black-and-white setting and taking no time to warm up, the band opened with their eponymous track before the booming drums of The City engulfed the tiny basement venue.
The group’s strengths were obvious. From the vocals to the incredible guitar work on display, their technical ability was admirable. After showcasing their chops on the likes of Settle Down and Menswear, the tone of the set shifted seamlessly with the always nostalgic Heart Out.
The most remarkable element of the performance proved to be frontman Matthew Healy‘s magnetic onstage presence. The son of British actors, it was clear he’s no stranger to the spotlight, as he commanded the stage and crowd with a swagger.
Problems arose from the band’s well-established ‘sound.’ The mutedly picked arpeggios, electronic drum samples and synths grew tiresome by night’s end. The Manchester outfit have successfully translated this formula into a raft of pop hits, but when a formula proves a crutch, it can make for a live set liable to drift into the mundane.
Of course the crowd didn’t seem to mind. And why would they? The group were engaging and energetic and knew what the audience came to hear, climaxing with their debut album’s lead single, Sex, at the end of their encore.
After being forced to cut their set one song short, the band walked off to thundering applause. Despite the lack of variety, they still played with the enjoyment of every individual crammed into the tiny venue in mind. One can only hope that as the band grows, variety will follow, in turn creating an even more invigorating live show.
Photos: The 1975 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 27/01/2014