A little help from my friends: The new 1975

Matt Healy of The 1975 performs at The Knoxville Civic Auditorium. Photo by Clair Scott.
Matt Healy of The 1975 performs at The Knoxville Civic Auditorium. Photo by Clair Scott.

I was dressed in black from head to toe and was trying to play it cool around my friend who was a few years older than I was and had already been in college for almost a year. It was my first concert, and my friend Angela and I had driven down to Chattanooga to see The 1975. It was three years ago, and they had just recently started touring in the US.

Since then, I have attended more concerts than I can count, and my music taste has expanded further than what plays on local radio stations. This past week, I got the opportunity to experience The 1975 once again. However, this time I had pit access, and the young British indie band that I had once known in high school was promoting their gold record on their second US tour “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.”

I was lucky to even get the chance to attend, and the fact that I had a photo pass made the experience even more unforgettable. It felt like I had come full circle from where I was over three years ago.

I set up my camera and did a run through of the pit before I started shooting, checking for wires and extraneous sound equipment that could cause me to trip and fall while I was unaware of it.

The lights went dark, and the sound intensified as the crowd began to become restless. When the lights came up, I was standing at the feet of Matt Healey, The 1975’s front man who describes himself as a “sexually confused Edward Scissorhands.”

They opened with the starting track “Love Me,” from their newest album of the same name as the tour. The song is an electrifying number that sounds heavily influence by the 80’s electronic pop era.

Matt brushed back his corkscrew curls with one hand as his cool composure complimented his gaudy and unapologetically effortless appearance. They played a mix of various hits from their most recent album and their self-titled previous album, “The 1975,” such as “Medicine,” “Sex” and their number one hit, “Chocolate.”

The distinction between their old and new album was undeniable. It’s a more mature and developed sound. Songs are no longer written in the point of view of middle class stoner kids from the middle of nowhere (Wilmslow, the town the band members called home, is just outside Manchester) whose life experiences didn’t span much further than the walls of their hometown high school.

Their new album discusses topics regarding modern pop culture, interpreting it in a witty, satirical fashion—comprised of conviction and truth. The band’s front man describes their newest album as the “pursuit of excellence.” The lyrics are sharp, and the band now seems to have an overwhelming sense of self-awareness.

Not only has the music changed since their first US tour, but so has their overall appearance. The young Matt Healy, last time I recall, was shirtless with nothing but black skinny jeans and a bottle of wine opposite his mic, yet he was now adorned in a skinny-fit suit.

He wore a fat tie around his neck which was a little nod to that 80’s nostalgia that heavily influences their current style. Their newest set acts like a live art installation that creates an experience with light and pairs with their own unique sound. It was a show all on its own and changed with each song, bringing the audience into the experience.

The 1975 closed with “The Sound,” another hit from their newest record. Matt’s energy was at its peak, encouraging the audience to jump until the lights went off and they exited the stage. They did not return for an encore.

My experience of seeing them again was much more than I expected because I realized that I was no longer a high schooler trying to impress her friends. I had nothing to prove to anyone, and the band that I had seen years ago was just as cool as it was when I first saw them, but, just like me, they too had matured with a bit more life experience since I last saw them.

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