“We’re not massively all over magazines, we’re not massively over radio, so we’re very a much fan-generated band.” That was the message that Matt Healy, the lead singer of The 1975 had for their fans last night at the Barclay’s center. Almost like he was apologizing for the band filling up such a large venue. After all it was only a couple years back that The 1975 was playing the smaller New York city venues like Mercury Lounge. And he recognized that as he told the band’s adoring fans that this night stands for something. But if Healy and co. truly felt out of place on a stage full of high tech lights and having their visages projected onto giant screens, they never showed it. In fact they looked they had been playing arena shows for quite some time now.
Joining The 1975 on tour were two up and coming acts out of England: The Japanese House and Wolf Alice. First up was The Japanese House. At first look, and the moment lead singer Amber Bain opened her mouth I thought I was starring at grunge fashion meets British manners. But the band’s sound has a late night lounge vibe to it. It’s full of beats, synths, vox effects. And when all that is swirled together, The Japanese House paints a quiet introspective landscape.
Following up was the gritty guitar driven sound of Wolf Alice. The band has been touring in support of their debut album My Love is Cool. The band has a brooding grunge fueled sound, one that is hidden behind the almost shy mannerisms of lead singer Ellie Rowsell. But the band certainly didn’t stay shy for long as they tore through their set, gaining a bit of furor with each upcoming song. Right before they launched into their closing number “Moaning Lisa Smile,” Rowsell asked the fans if they were ready to dance. And looking at the way that crowd was moving they had been dancing long before she asked.
And then it was the moment the crowd had been waiting for. The fans went nuts for The 1975. People were packed up against the railing as their idols strutted on stage. And from the moment that Healy began singing, you could’ve cut his microphone and the crowd would’ve carried every song.
The fans of The 1975 are a devoted lot. They arrive early to shows, bring flowers, and look at the band as though they are a central piece of their lives. And the band knows it. Healy let the crowd know that they are all a community with the band, even if, as he said, they were separated by a couple hundred yards.
The band exude a dance vibe that would’ve fit in perfectly with the up tempo synth fueled bands of the 80s. Healy moves across the stage with the swagger of a polished lead singer. Bringing in his elbows tight, thrusting out his forearms as he frequently gets down so that he can whip his curls back. And guitarist Adam Hamm keeps the rollicking licks coming, clad in a floral printed suit that matched his guitar. You would’ve never known that the band was missing their drummer George Daniels they way they clicked on this night.
Healy even implored the crowd to put away all their cellphones for the song “Me,” reminding them that the memory of the next five minutes would be more potent than any video on their phones. And judging by the smiles on their fans’ faces, they will have a vivid memory of this night for years to come.
Article: Omar Kasrawi