the 1975, 04.25.19

the 1975 at the SSE Hydro, 2019. photograph: roberto ricciuti/redferns.

The chatter of thousands of eager fans suddenly became an uproar of cheering when the house lights went down, signaling the beginning of the show. Filipino artist No Rome took to the stage to open up the massive Seattle show. His music ranges under various genres like R&B, synth-pop, chillwave, bedroom pop, and indietronica. His vocals are smooth and accompany the electronic beats perfectly. No Rome (Rome Gomez) danced around the stage with his head of signature dyed hair (blue this time) bopping along, as the crowd followed suit. He sang about heartbreak and life, singing lyrics that very much resonated with the young crowd present. His set was exciting even if you weren’t familiar with his music because he is entertaining to watch ad his music is easy to catch on to.

He was followed by pop band Pale Waves who definitely look more punk than pop, all dressed in black with dramatic makeup and trendy haircuts. The front woman, Heather Baron-Gracie, looked the part of a punk princess playing electric guitar alongside guitarist Hugo Silvani, drummer Ciara Doran, and bassist Charlie Wood. Their songs were all upbeat and catchy which created a fun and positive vibe among audience members. Personally, I enjoy their music however there is a sense of similarity throughout it that tends to put me off and not listen to them much more than occasionally on a playlist. There have been people who say what most bands dread hearing: “All of their songs sound the same”. However, the band is still somewhat new having just released their first album in 2018 so there is time for growth. I would definitely not write them off, they are a fun to listen to and a band I will definitely be keeping an eye on.

Finally, when the house lights went dark after the break following Pale Waves’ performance, the cheering was deafening. We knew what was coming. The crowd was waiting for the beginning notes of title track “The 1975” from the band’s newest album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The 1975 always opened their shows with the title track which they have begun each album with, revamping the track into different styles to match the album’s vibe. The song began to build as the giant LED screen behind the stage displayed the lyrics for everyone to read and band members began to take to the stage. Drummer George Daniel, bassist Ross Macdonald, lead guitarist Adam Hann, and lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matty Healy stepped onto the stage to a roar of applause that nearly masked the music being played. The band has been accompanied by saxophonist John Waugh since 2013, using him on tours and their albums, and are now also joined by twin dancers/backing vocalists Taitlyn Jaiy and Kaylee Jaiy for the 2019 tour. Front man Matty Healy greeted the crowd as the first iconic notes of “Give Yourself A Try” were played on the electric guitar, instantly hooking the audience.

“You learn a couple things when you get to my age
Like friends don’t lie and it all tastes the same in the dark
When your vinyl and your coffee collection is a sign of the times
You’re getting spiritually enlightened at 29″

the 1975, “Give Yourself A Try”

Something important to understand about the 1975 concerts is that they are not just shows or opportunities for the band to play music. They are opportunities for people to come together in love and to coexist peacefully. Matty Healy uses the shows to spread positive messages about politics and the world in order to encourage the audience to take action and make the world a better place. This has always been the case for the band, with their first album addressing depression and drug addictions, followed by their second which included more equality-based messages and songs about overcoming drug addictions. This most recent album is full of messages and encouragements for listeners to wake up to the world around them and do something to prevent further evils. The band played one of its most popular songs from their second album called “Loving Someone” which is always accompanied by a light display of rainbow colors in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The song is essentially an anthem on love and preaches equality among sexual orientations and gender identities speaking against homophobia and forced sexuality that often occurs in society.

Songs from their latest album like “Sincerity is Scary” were of course played and met by great response from the audience. The crowd’s energy was contagious and much of it was stemming from the band’s energy on stage, with both feeding off of each other. Matty sang of society’s relationship with technology and the Internet, how involved we have become in the world around us while also distancing ourselves through our screens. The album as a whole is showing the pros and cons of postmodernism and how it is changing us and the way the world operates. Their song “I Like America And America Likes Me” was heavily relevant and as the song’s lyrics were displayed on the screen throughout its performance the audience was able to dissect and take in what Matty was singing about. The most repeated line, “I’m scared of dying”, referenced how everyone in the world is connected and that we are all just scared of dying, especially so in today’s world. “Kids don’t want rifles/They want Supreme” spoke out about the current debate about gun control in America and possibly referencing how it is easier to buy guns in America than designer items from the Supreme brand. The song serves as a message from the younger generation to the older, begging them to “Please listen!” and stop assuming they know what is best. The song is an anthem for those desperate for positive change and acceptance in the modern world; those tired of hearing about school shootings every other day and police brutality.

Perhaps the climax of the show, the moment the audience was waiting for, was the performance of the 1975’s “Love It If We Made It”. From the first line, the audience was screaming the lyrics to the political and powerful song. Matty Healy quoted Trump twice in the song and referenced multiple relevant instances that have taken place in the last year, such as the death of rapper Lil Peep and the war-torn state of countries like Syria and Afghanistan. The visuals during the song’s performance included clips from police brutality that has occurred in the U.S., images of the president giving speeches, Brett Kavanaugh’s infuriated face from the trials last year, and more controversial references. The song, like “I Like America…”, insights action from the younger generation and also encourages us to continue to fight back against injustice and hate.

“Jesus save us,
Modernity has failed us!
And I’d love it if we made it.”

the 1975, “Love It If We Made It”

I could write a page for each song’s performance, the significance, etc., but no one’s going to read something that long. Honestly, I’m impressed if you made it this far through the post, but I appreciate it if you took the time. This band means a lot to me and has been one that I’ve been able to turn to in the highs and lows of my life to find comfort in the lyrics and music. If you don’t already listen to them, I highly recommend giving them a chance if you are interested in the messages they are spreading and enjoy genuinely good music.

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