Last Sunday night, I had the pleasure of seeing the band, The 1975, perform at the Mann Center’s Skyline Stage in Philadelphia on a stop of their 2016 World Tour for their new album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. One of my best friends is a massive fan of them, and she needed someone to tag along to the concert with her. Before I planned on going to the concert, I knew only a couple of songs by them (You might know “Chocolate” or “Girls”.), but I studied up on their two albums so that I could know some of the music before the concert.
The band, who originally hails from Cheshire, England, is made up of four members: lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matty Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel, who unfortunately couldn’t play due to a broken shoulder. Their genre is a bit hard to pinpoint– surely it’s alternative, but it’s also a kind of ethereal blend of pop, rock, jazz, and funk. Especially on the newest album, they blend a lot of different influences together, with sugary sweet synth, a booming gospel choir, and a smooth jazz saxophone.
The concert started off… chilly. It was drizzling and cold (especially for mid-May in Philadelphia), and some people were dressed according to the weather, while others weren’t. It was fun to see all of the funky outfits people were wearing; my friend and I spotted plenty of bright hair colors and even a pair of white gogo boots. We joked about the cultural phenomenon that manifests itself at a concert like The 1975’s: everybody tries to look different, but then everybody ends up looking kind of the same (but in a cooler way I guess?).
The first opener, The Japanese House, played kind of sleepy, synthy music– not exactly the best band to pump up an audience. The second opener was Wolf Alice, who played a bit more upbeat music, but still not super dance-y stuff. We were yearning for some of that as we shivered sitting on a blanket toward the back.
Finally, the stage lights lit up, and an incredibly long vamp left us all hanging until The 1975 came out playing “Love Me,” a funky song on their second album that reminds me a lot of Walk The Moon’s cover of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.” It got the crowd dancing and excited, which was the mood for a lot of the concert. The only time the audience was taken out of the realm of the show was when Healy had to stop abruptly at the beginning of “Heart Out” (which is a total jam) because some people in the mosh pit had gotten squeezed too far forward and fell. But he very calmly asked everybody to take a few steps back and cheerily told us all in a thick British accent, “If somebody falls, just pick ’em back up, give ’em a kiss, and make sure they’re alright. We gotta be here for each other.”
Once we got that out of the way, the audience just lived during the whole show. It was a bit of a roller coaster, going from upbeat pop-y songs like “She’s American” and “UGH!” (which is so funky, I dare you not to dance when you’re listening to it) to quieter, slower songs like “A Change of Heart” and “Me.” Still, because so many of the melodies are similar and there is always an element of the electronic in the background, the music all flowed together pretty cohesively, despite the tones of the songs varying from snarky disapproval to deep sadness.
The highlights for me, aside from one of the songs I knew best–“Girls”– were the ’80s ballad-esque “Robbers,” the following song, “You” that has a really stirring beat and melody, and the entire encore. When The 1975 came back onstage after “Girls,” they started their encore with the powerful and pleading “If I Believe You,” that definitely has some gospel influences to highlight the religious undertones of the song. (“This song is about Jesus,” Healy said when he introduced it.)
But they didn’t let us sway and gospel two-step for long; the following song was the effervescent and flamboyant “Chocolate,” their best-known song, followed by two of my favorite songs by them: “The Sound” and “Sex.” “The Sound” has the same dance-y keyboard vibes that I love about Jess Glynne’s “Hold My Hand”, and when they started playing it, the whole crowd was just jumping and dancing, and it felt so genuinely joyful. They finished the concert with “Sex,” which sounds like an ’80s pop-rock version of a Jimmy Eat World song, like a song they play in an old teen movie when all the kids are driving too fast on the highway. It was an epic way to end a concert, and I think it left everyone feeling joyously dazed (though for a lot of people, it might have just been the weed they were smoking).
All in all, even though I don’t know the band super well, the concert was a really fun way to start my summer break from school and a great way to be among a group of people I’m not usually around. I got to witness so many people who were seeing their favorite band ever perform, and it’s just so entertaining and heartening to watch that kind of excitement. The 1975 put on a great show, and I’d definitely go to see them again.
Have you seen The 1975 perform? What did you think? What other concerts have you enjoyed/are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!