The 1975 are an oddity in the music industry; for years they have been one of the biggest bands in indie music but in a way that they were the biggest band that no one has ever heard about. Yet all of that changed in 2016 with the release of their sophomore album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. It seemed that suddenly everybody and their mother knew who the 1975 were, you couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing “The Sound” blasting through your speakers. The days of crowded, pushy, intimate shows were over and the days of huge arena shows were now upon us. While long standing fans mourned the loss of their best kept secret it seemed that the 1975 were just getting started. This year they embarked on a North American arena tour which meant that they went from playing shows to about 4000 people to a whopping 20,000 people. That’s a big deal.
Yet when you walked into the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY it was obvious that you were going to be in for a show quite unlike anything else on this tour; a football field compressed down to 1/8th of its size with a large “dance floor” and a small section of bleachers. It felt more like a venue where you would see your local marching band opposed to one of the biggest bands in the world.
The show was kicked off by 070 shake, a rapper from New Jersey. With a unique sound and beyond entertaining dance moves she was actually a refreshing change of pace from what you normally expect from an opener. On top of it all she got the crowd dancing and warmed up for the night ahead, really what more could you want from an opener? From there the London-based duo Oh Wonder took to the stage. While they were drastically different from the first opener they still never cease to amaze. Between their angelic vocals and overwhelming chemistry they always put on a captivating show. Also considering that they are becoming increasingly more popular by the day seeing them as openers is something that will become a rare sight soon enough.
Exactly on time a familiar hum began to fill the stadium and and as it got louder and louder the excitement level in the room got higher and higher. Finally the lights dropped and the opening track “The 1975” echoed throughout the stadium alongside the screams of the fans. There are a few things that always set a The 1975 show apart from anything else; one of them is their setlist. It is ever changing and is a mix of old, new, popular, and lesser known songs. They really do cater their setlist for every type of fan they may find themselves at one of their shows. It’s as if they choose to put songs like “M.O.N.E.Y” and “Undo” on the setlist for the long standing fans. Yet they also always include their biggest hits like “Girls’, “Sex”, “Chocolate”, and “The Sound” for the newer crowd. It’s a unique mix that leaves every single fan satisfied. On top of their perfectly catered setlist you can’t forget about their breathtaking set design. The amount of detail put into every single second of every song is utterly captivating to the point where you really can’t look away; almost as if their set is a show on its own. But somehow on top of all of it all the lights end up not being the most captivating thing about the show.
Someone once told me that Matty Healy is one of the last true frontman around, possessing a presence that feels as if it belongs in the era in the likes of Mick Jagger. Between his careless dancing, guzzling of wine, and carefree attitude Healy seems to have been built for the stage. You can often find him dancing in the style that I can only remind me of someone dancing drunk and alone in their bedroom at 3am; but he pulls it off because he owns it in the most effortless way. Also equipped with his witty british sense of humour Healy stops the show midway to deliver about the importance of not “fucking this election up” taking several hidden cracks at Trump and Brexit. He possess an aura that has a way of pulling in the attention of every single member of the audience and launching fans into spiraling hysteria. So while you may argue that he isn’t the last true frontman around it is nearly impossible to argue that he isn’t one of the best.
When it comes down to it there are shows that fans can only ever dream about attending; with a perfect combination of a good venue, crowd, and band. This was one of those shows. While watching the live show it becomes increasingly obvious as to why the 1975 have gained the popularity that they have, and why they deserve every ounce of it.