THE 1975, The Dome – Evening Standard, 22 Feb 2017

The first award given to The 1975 was from the NME in 2014, which named them Worst Band. This evening they will perform at the Brit Awards and surely take home the prize for best British Group, and possibly British Album, capping a fascinating rise that has made the Wilmslow quartet one of British music’s least likely success stories.

Perhaps as an ego checker the night before the speechmaking, and more importantly to raise money for the charity War Child, these habitual arena fillers played a low-key set in a Tufnell Park club. “How fun is this? Lots of individual people as opposed to a mass of people,” said singer Matt Healy.

Even augmented to a six-piece in concert, his band’s main flaw is that there’s no one worth watching apart from him. Between swigs of wine he conducted saxophone solos, lurched and jived and tossed his mounds of hair.

His contradictons are plentiful. He’s the good-looking swaggerer who’s full of great stories about what a useless star he is: in his latest interview he described spilling a bag of Haribo in front of David Byrne. Here he sang If I Believe You, a gospel song about being an atheist.

For a rock god, with all the leather jackets and philandering that entails, you’d expect him to have more than one actual rock song. Sex barrelled along on a wave of rugged guitar, but more characteristic was the bubbly funk of Girls and the sensitive synthpop of Somebody Else. The audience of ballot winners largely comprised young girls. The band haven’t yet come up with a song that the whole nation knows.

But perhaps that’s because this odd singer is still an awkward fit for the mainstream, as the huge Brits audience may see tonight. Wherever he goes next (Hammersmith Apollo in the summer for starters, he said) it will be worth watching.

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