REVIEW: The 1975, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

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If you're looking to start the New Year with a love affair, why not make it one with The 1975?

The group welcomed a sold-out crowd to the Arena last night, and spent their almost two-hour set charming, teasing and wowing with every move they made.

Their set was loud, proud, romantic and seductive - and delivered everything you could possibly want as a fan.

Starting with Love Me, UGH!, Heart Out and Change of Heart, the band set the scene for an emotional roller-coaster; we danced, we kissed, we cried, we laughed. It was a true whirlwind.

To me, they delivered exactly what I look for in an arena gig - a combination of intimate songs that rather make you feel like you're in a room alone with the musicians, and punchy singalong tunes that totally fill the huge venue with sound.

Frontman Matty Healy (son of Tim Healy and Denise Welch) took a few moments between songs to talk, and I mean REALLY talk, to the fans - and revealed just how much of a place the North East has in his heart, having grown up in Prudhoe.

He also (quite rightly) declared that 2016 had been a bit of a bad year (I'm paraphrasing), but added that: "If we're young and we're liberal and we're compassionate, it's our responsibility to be understanding and not to be patronising."

He urged his young fans to lead the way, and to be the "voices of progression" before launching into Loving Someone, a song that felt more poignant than usual in light of what's happened across the world this year.

Vintage offerings Sex, Robbers and Girls, from the group's 2013 self-titled album, were just the cherries on top of the gig for me - and the set ended with thousands of feet pounding the floor as we jumped up and down in unison to closing song, The Sound, at Mr Healy's command.

And now my message to the 1975 - I loved you yesterday, I loved you tonight and I will continue to love you in 2017. Thank you for loving your fans and for ending our year with something beautiful.

Pictures: Sarah Smith.