In this post I talk about my experience at the recent 1975 concert at Malahide Castle and Gardens. You can see my previous post on gambling addiction here
We certainly got the weather for it. In 20 degree heat, indie pop outlet The 1975 played the Malahide Castle and Gardens on Saturday night. And they weren’t alone. Backed by fellow bands the Pale Waves and our own Blizzards, they gave the crowd of hundreds something to write home about. Hence, here I am.
I had only just completed a walk in the gardens a month earlier, the famous Darkness Into Light for Pieta House, so I was only too happy to snap up tickets for this, and return to a beautiful venue for a band I had wanted to see.
I arrived at the castle and gardens at about ten to six, with ten minutes to spare before the start. Garda escorted us across the road from the entrance of Hogan’s Gate. There was a strong Garda/ security presence, partly in light of what has happened recently. Luckily, I had read the list of items banned from the event, as well as the pleas for ”no moshing or public urination”.
Some hardcore fans had been queuing hours upon hours before.
I turned up with only water, phone, wallet and a hat, plus the ticket. So no worries there. I know the Guards get a bad rap often, but from I saw, they were only ever decent to us all going in.
After a lengthy walk through the gardens, I passed through the barriers where they scan your ticket. I was wondering beforehand if there was any way you could just arrive without one and still sneak in among the crowd. Not today. It was those single file barriers where each person was checked. Not that I was thinking of it….
Once inside, I had a look around at the stage, and the different stands and stalls. Standard concert stuff. There was a stand for merchandise, which I never went near. Wasn’t that bothered paying whatever mad amount for a branded t shirt. Heard it wasn’t cheap.
There was also the food stalls- burritos, burgers, hot dogs, chips, noodles. Even food for vegans. Just what you’d want, really,
On either side, there was Heineken bars. The drink looked to be served in plastic cups , so they couldn’t be flung at some poor bastards’ head and do damage. Makes sense, they said no items allowed that could be used as a weapon.
Before long, Pale Waves kicked off their set. They share a similar sound to the 1975 lads, and are signed to their Dirty Hit label. I wasn’t familiar with them, but enjoyed the tunes nonetheless. They performed ”There’s a Honey” among other songs. A good opener from a group that’s just getting started.
At half seven, The Blizzards arrived, headed up by Mullingar’s Niall Breslin aka Bressie. He’s done a lot of campaigning for mental health and has even released a book on his experience with anxiety entitled ”Me and My Mate Jeffrey”.
Anyhow, Bressie decided to reunite with The Blizzards after a multi year break, bringing their new sound to Malahide. They did new tracks ”Perfect on Paper” and ”Show Me The Science”, followed by ”Drop Down The Anchor”. A staple of the Irish festival scene in the last decade, playing Oxygen eight years in a row, they have a gathered a following. They also played old favorites ”Postcards” ”Fantasy” and ”Trouble”.
Whilst I’ve never been a fan, I was happy with what they brought. Their style is perfect for a gig like this. It’s easy to see why they’ve been in demand for festivals for so many years. And I happen to think Bressie himself is a skilled songwriter. They made the wait for the main event not just bearable, but enjoyable. They sounded great by any standard.
I also appreciated Bressie’s efforts to engage the audience. Having spotted pride flags waved around, he exclaimed ”that’s the shit I like to see”, and praised our generation.
He endeared himself to us, through just being grateful to be there, and to be back after so many years. ” You always have to remember on support gigs that they’re not there for you. It’s your job to give it socks but they’re there for the headline act’‘, Bressie said in a recent interview, about knowing your place as a support act. And on this night he showed a full understanding of that. Respect to him.
”99% of people in this world are sound, and the rest can fuck off”, he mused in response to the often troubling world around us.
He wrapped things up with a genuine ”thank you” message, and then it was onto what I, and countless others had waited to see.
At 8:45 bang on the dot, The 1975 emerged to the opening strains of their track of the same name….. to excited anticipation and applause.
Playing with the air
Breathing in your hair
Step into your skin?
I’d rather jump in your bones
Taking up your mouth, so you breathe through your nose’.
They launched straight into the statement making ”Love Me” and it felt surreal. I had only been a fan a short while, having both their albums, and jumped at the chance to see them live. And now I was there. There is something in having an artist play in front of you, that you would normally never see or even be physically close to. It feels like a one off, an experience for sure. It doesn’t come around every day.
Over an hour and half, they riffed through songs from their endlessly titled ”I love it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” and their debut effort ”The 1975”.
Crowd engagement was great, on both sides. They seemed to know the words to the newer tracks and were singing/mouthing along, and the older tracks got even more reaction. Matty got them moving. From ”UGH!” to ”Somebody Else” to ”Girls” to ”Robbers”. The only time the pace really lagged was in the slower, quieter instrumental tracks, but still wasn’t enough to dampen the atmosphere.
When it came to ”Loving Someone” a social commentary on celebrity, media and identity, frontman Matty dedicated the track to ”those who ever felt ostracized”. Like Bressie, he was impressed with the pride flags and this generation of ”liberals”. Pride colours graced the stage as Matty bounced around on the overhead screen. ”We’re all human, we’re just like you man”.
Matty himself appeared lively throughout the night, egging on the crowd. He unbuttoned his shirt to huge cries, and entered the crowd . He drank and smoked on stage, with humorous reference to ”lad culture”. Whatever he was on, it was working.
Just before ”Fallingforyou”, he commanded us to put our phones down, insisting we spend the next few few minutes just watching him perform .”This is your life, these three minutes will be better than any video on your phone’‘. Turns out that particular song means a lot to him. I filmed quite a bit during the gig, so I’m guilty. Wasn’t I just talking about this in a previous post? Guess my phone was a limb that night.
After nearly two hours, and nearly five in total, the lads closed the show with their signature ”Chocolate”, which everyone understandably went mad for, and the poppy, upbeat ”The Sound”, encouraging everyone to jump up and down for their lives. What a way to end it.
To conclude, really happy with this gig. Great venue. The sound quality was good, decent stage times, value for money with the tickets, no trouble getting in and out, no bother with anyone else, no fights, no bottles smashed off heads. There was always enough space to move around. Well organised. Five stars. I’d go again.
Hope you enjoyed the review. Feel free to have a look round my other posts.