The 1975 at Hisense Arena (Melbourne)

After walking a solid five minutes to get to the end of the line to enter their concert, it’s hard to believe this English indie-rock foursome only released their debut studio album in 2013.

A mob of denim-swaddled, glitter-faced fans had begun to form at the doors of Hisense Arena in the early afternoon, gradually growing to a huge queue which attracted many car honks and stretched all the way down to the Yarra River before the doors opened.

The floor area of the arena quickly filled, more packed at the front while the rear was scattered with those who preferred to dance freestyle throughout the show. Brisbane band Cub Sport started the evening off with some blissed-out indie-pop tunes, their sound resembling The 1975’s more relaxed tracks and inspiring the crowd to sway side-to-side.

Their set included ‘I Can’t Save You’, ‘I’m On Fire’, ‘I Don’t Love My Baby’ and a cover of the band’s favourite song, ‘This Must Be the Place’ by Talking Heads. Lead vocalist Tim Nelson prompted “aww’s” from the audience when he gushed about how honoured they were to be playing to such a big crowd.

There was no annoyingly drawn out intermission or teasers once the supporting act had finished. There was a small set-up period of time before the main event made their way on stage. With a set at least 90 minutes long, they didn’t have much time to waste.

Starting with ‘Love Me’, from their second studio album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, the crowd was jolted into a boogie which lasted the entire set, save for a couple of the more sombre tracks. They mixed tracks from both albums, and the crowd seemed to know the lyrics to every single song. Off the more recent album there was ‘A Change of Heart’, crowd favourite ‘Loving Someone’, ‘She’s American’ and ‘Paris’, as well as the slowed down beat of ‘If I Believe You’ and ‘Somebody Else’.

It wouldn’t be right for the band to neglect the singles which they gained their following from though, and they definitely gave the crowd what they wanted. They played their original hits ‘Sex’, ‘Robbers’ and ‘Girls’, as well as my personal favourite ‘Heart Out’, before they really hit the high point with their almost cult-classic track ‘Chocolate’. This prompted screams and jumping up and down before even the first chord had finished.

Front-man and general British cutie Matthew Healy negotiated with the crowd to experience one song without their phones, and of course everyone obliged because how could you say no to that quaint accent? To be in an almost-full arena, listening to live music together without a single mobile device in sight was a unique experience, and generated a connection with the band which really made the show special.

The 1975 somehow made an arena show feel intimate and played every song as perfectly as on the albums. My love for the band and the music they create has definitely been reignited.

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