Matty Healy singing his heart out at the Brighton CentreLYRA CHRISTIE WITH PERMISSION FOR VARSITY

During the US leg of the 1975’s At Their Very Best tour, the band repeatedly went viral for frontman Matty Healy’s antics of kissing fans and saying quippy things in robotic autotune. On the first night of their UK tour, starting at the Brighton Centre, there was certainly plenty of that. During a portion of the show simply titled 'Consumption' on the setlist, Healy ate raw steak, downed a bottle of wine, took his shirt off, and did push ups to videos of Liz Truss, Andrew Tate, Rishi Sunak, and Prince Andrew all before crawling into a television.

“Healy is every bit the sleazy rockstar archetype, even as he deconstructs it”

After their self-titled intro track, the band launched into 'Looking For Somebody (To Love)', an infectiously upbeat song about the violent end result of toxic masculinity and the desperate need for intimacy which works well as a thesis statement for the first act of the show. However, Healy undermines his caricature of modern masculinity with a setlist that focuses on emotional vulnerability.

The 1975 - TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIMEYouTube / The 1975

It’s a performance with a story to tell, not least about performance itself. Drinking, smoking, and sucking a fan’s thumb, Healy is every bit the sleazy rockstar archetype, even as he deconstructs it. "If you do a show that’s essentially about your own life, that’s method acting, so it doesn’t matter if you’re acting or not" he says as his band dons lab coats and his commentary to the audience is reset with a movie clapper.

It’s all very meta. Layer upon layer of surreal self-awareness and cynicism that could be grating if such passion and attention to detail hadn’t been poured into the show, especially in the intricate set design.


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Passionate too is this performance’s version of Healy’s auto-tuned talk-singing in the intro of 'TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME'. Where in the past Healy has gone viral for voicing his dislike of menthols, here he tells us to support the union strikers.

Healy expands on this later as he introduces 'Love It If We Made It' as he furiously lists of all the ways in which “modernity has failed us”. He tells the crowd that being anti-tory isn’t a hot take, and not to just cheer because he said the word 'nurse' but instead to resist the demonisation of strikers, and to think about who might stand to gain from it.

Like everything else in the show, his political tangents are an invitation to peel back the layers and figure out what’s really going on. What we’re left with is a clever, self-referential, intensely political performance piece. And the music has never sounded better.