Because once isn’t enough, Reading Festival got a double helping of The 1975 on Saturday. First they were on the BBC Introducing stage for a live lounge special that may get them in a spot of bother as they performed the unedited version of ‘Sex’. F-bombs on the tax payer’s buck, nice one men. It’s a slick three song set with a slightly timid crowd of about 1000. It was what it was, an appetiser for the real meal over on the Festival Republic stage an hour later.
Photo: Jen O’Neill
Clearly, someone thought this band would not have this much buzz at this point. The tent is far too small for them and is jammed well before they arrive on stage. It’s difficult to see where the crowd ends. But hype is hot air. A bit of radio play and a hot singer can easily get people talking about you, curious to check you out. Strip away and what do we have?
A holiday. That’s what you have. A sepia tinted getaway, loosely narrated by Matty’s delicate but deliberate voice. A tropical lilt causes swaying arms in the air from multiple rows of girls all on their boyfriend’s (or some random mug’s) shoulders. There’s not just girls though, there’s ‘Girls’. A song about girls, and it’s what you spend a lot of this holiday chasing around after.
The sunkissed vibe flows through the set until it reaches ‘Chocolate’, which rounds off the final feel-good daytime of your Spanish/Greek/Turkish sojourn. You’ve got your outfit planned, you’ve found a great girl, her gang are going out with yours tonight, you know just the place to impress her, you’ve had a good meal so you don’t chunder first, your hair is slick and tonight will be perfect. (Giant high-pitched screams greet this one. Truth be told it isn’t particularly better than some of the earlier songs, but the radio has played it more.)
Suddenly the last night has arrived, ‘Sex’ causes an urgent and desperate attempt to stick your tongue down the throat of the one perfect specimen. There’s crying, fights, veiled jokes, cut-off shorts, running make-up, poorly judged texts, unsubstantiated claims, a distant circle of mates who have given up looking after you. If only she would understand, maybe if you ran after her she’d understand. Maybe. Keep trying, because tonight you become a hero. (People jumped around loads throughout this number, rightfully.)
The last track of the set leaves you coiled on the beach as the sun rises. Are you holding your new love of your life? Are you on a quivering comedown in the foetal position? NEITHER, THIS IS ALL A METAPHOR. You’re broken and don’t want to leave, you promise yourself that you will never forget this moment. The clarity, the wonder, the overwhelming sense that you are now more aware of everything than you were before. We’ve all been there, right?
A guitar is left to drone loudly as they walk off the stage. This is you leaning your head against the airplane window as it takes off and you depart from this wonderful wonderful island, heading back to somewhere a lot less exciting.
Oh, look. Superman has the band’s name written on his/her face too. That’s a plus.