The 1975, The Neighbourhood and Wolf Alice: O2 Academy, Sheffield

Warming up the crowd with her hypnotic vocals, Ellie Roswell, lead singer of North London’s alternative indie band, Wolf Alice. After releasing their first EP in October 2013 the band are certainly stirring the ingredients for future success in 2014. Booking The Great Gatsby’s skeleton key in February 2013 for a free intimate gig, they have come along away to be back in Sheffield touring with The 1975. The second performance was by California’s genre crossing band, The Neighbourhood. With a distinct and electrifying sound, combining elements of hip-hop, grunge and rock they managed to deliver an intensely gripping performance. There was one minor drawback with the bands sound, which was noticeably over amplified and consequently drowned out the lead singer, Jesse Rutherford’s vocals.

Standing in anticipation for The 1975 under the faded lighting of Sheffield’s o2 Academy, I can’t help but reminisce back to this time last year when I first saw The 1975 play at Soyo. Back then the venue, like their fan base, was significantly smaller and most of those present in the audience (including myself) were oblivious to the fact that this youthful indie-pop band would rocket to commercial success that very same year. I vaguely remember lead vocalist, Matthew Healy, expressing his disbelief that his band were performing to such a crowded room full of people; and here I am one year later in a much larger venue surrounded by a much larger group of people.

Four long fluorescent lights in the shape of their trademark rectangular logo flash spontaneously in preparation for their appearance. After a sharp intake of breath we are introduced to a few familiar drumbeats to the ‘The City’, the soundtrack to many people’s summer.  The audience, which consisted primarily of young screaming girls, beckon the band to appear, and eventually they do.

The band continues the first half of their gig by delivering various songs from their eponymous debut solo album.  The crowd’s enthusiasm is continually pumped, from the performances of the fan favourite ‘She Way Out’ to ‘Heart Out’ and their most recent single, ‘Settle Down’. Ironically, following the latter performance the second half of the gig featured more downbeat tunes that saw the audience marginally “settle down”. The brief, mild spell of composure is eventually diminished completely with the introduction to ‘Girls’ where Matthew breathlessly enquires,  ‘where are the girls at?’

After a ninety-minute set, the gig begins to draw to an end and the band finally grace us with their most anticipated performances of  ‘Sex’ and ‘Chocolate’, two of their most famous and most successful tracks.

Matthews’s vocals and the bands instrumental performances were faultless. They have come a long way since the bright lights of the Soyo live stage. This band that I last saw perform such an intimate gig had now officially risen out of the ashes and into the spotlight. Eventually, after standing high on a dark, smoke filled stage performing the culmination of songs from of their formative years the last chord dies down and the stage fades to black.

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