Teen angst and climate change, The 1975 soar
22nd September 2019

THE 1975 ★★★★
Margaret Court Arena, September 20

The 1975 perform at Margaret Court Arena.Credit:Rick Clifford

Two years ago The 1975's frontman Matt Healy was hooked on opiates, anxiety medication and heroin. He’s OK now, having checked into rehab while recording the brilliant 2018 album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, which is what brings them to Melbourne.

Healy, dressed in a grandma-skirt and a loose sweater, is in fine form on Friday night. Despite his somewhat aloof, goofy manner, he is one of pop's most razor-sharp voices. On A Brief Inquiry … Healy looks outward, and paints a bleak but also uplifting picture of what the world might look like to younger people.

His fans skew young; there are teens crying and shaking during the show. The 1975 are the archetypal 21st-century band, with a manic online following letting fans follow every live performance, with videos constantly posted to social media fan accounts, and Healy, willing to engage.

So basically every single person at Margaret Court Arena is in perfect harmony, singing together and emphasising moments and lyrics that aren't emphasised on the song's recorded versions, but magically are every time they're played live.

People and TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME are highlights early, while older favourites Robbers, Sex and Chocolate take fans back to their angsty teenage years. Those of us who aren't teenagers, anyway.

On a spoken-word track called The 1975, teenage climate warrior Greta Thunberg warns us about the dire state of the planet, and reminds everyone that the time for "civil disobedience" is here. Healy sits on the stage facing the screen, watching Thunberg's words flash across it.

I Like America & America Likes Me and I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes), the former about gun violence and the latter on death’s curiosities, are cathartic, cinematic and morbidly uplifting performances.

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