Photos and words by Alexis Schwaillier
For being someone who enjoys talking about music, I have never thought about a show in terms of anything but photography. I can tell you I had fun, and I liked it. Or that it was a great show. However, it’s hard to articulate the overall experience through words and not just visuals.
There are several things you need to know about The 1975 before seeing them. First, their “thing” is to wear black — this was explained to me by one of their 15-year-old fans who complimented me on wearing their “dress code”. You can imagine my puzzled face. Dress code? The dress code was and is not real, but the bands attention to image and visual aesthetic is apparent. Yes, their “thing” is black and white. And yes, most of their internet presence reflects this — from album art to music videos… I may not be a music critic and have never taken a music appreciation course in my life, but I understand image and actually appreciate the bands awareness to it all. “Sex” may get four lads from England to come back on stage further proving it’s not just the music that sells. With an information overload world, it’s hard to know where anyone’s influence comes from. In an interview with GoldenPlec frontman, Matthew Healy, once said
“Well we are big fans of fashion and film. I think most people are aren’t they? But we wanted to reflect our love for those things through what we were doing. We haven’t actively searched for a visual identity really. We just know what’s right for us, what looks good, and agree upon it. The black and white was really a mood thing. Our music is layden with classic pop sensibilities and major melodies — we try and make our sound quite life affirming and grand I suppose. So it’s nice to counteract that with an aesthetic that is more melancholic perhaps – also more removed from reality.”
And I don’t think I could say it better. Their “melancholic” aesthetic is a perfect juxtaposition for their “classic pop sensibilities.”
One of the first things you will notice when attending a The 1975 gig is the average age of their fans is easily 16. I remember going to shows and feeling like I was the youngest, working my way through crowds of grown dudes to get front and center for New Found Glory, or, admittedly, getting in line at noon to be on the barricade for Brand New. I may still be stuck in 2005 with my love of Fall Out Boy and anything catchy, but it was hard not to notice all the “Girls.” A mash of Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, most of the young fan base wore “the dress code,” some even broke one of those concert rules and wore a The 1975’s t-shirt. It’s hard not to feel out of place with kids and moms and think you accidentally bought tickets for Taylor Swift.
The visual identity of black and white laced with moody tones carries on to their live show. Their ambiguous square adorns the black of the stage and the lighting is eerier, dark, mixed with smoke and creating a visual presence on stage. There is very little stage banter — and Healy barley speaks to the crowd until the end, welcoming everyone with his accent before diving into the next song. For only having a self-titled LP and a handful of EPs, their impressive 20 song set list covers all the hits and at least someones favorite song. Appropriately enough, they end with “Girls,” a song about how “she can’t be what you need, if she’s 17.” Encores are a given now and the chants are no longer, “One more song,” because everyone knows we’re going to at least get three. The 1975 isn’t the easiest to chant, instead, the crowd erupted into chanting “Sex,” the bands first single, and another constant in their songs.
Even if pop isn’t your thing, The 1975 put on an incredible performance. You can’t help but move your hips a little to the beat, bob your head to the melody, and appreciate their attention to what your eyes are seeing perfectly contrasted what your ears are hearing.
So Far (It’s Alright)
She Way Out
Support SceneSC by clicking the “like” button below.