Let me briefly set the scene for you. Before shooting The 1975 and their appearance on the Starland Ballroom stage with a packed house in tow, I was talking to a security guard. From what I understood, there were fans who had been in the Starland Ballroom parking lot since 9 AM that morning waiting for this concert. He corrected me, “No dude, most of them have been here since 12:30 midnight.” That’s fandom at a fever pitch if you ask me. This show had been sold out for months and rescheduled for December 13th with some Stubhub prices going up to $200 for a ticket. The four members, originally from Manchester, England, had shades of previous invasions in years past from other bands (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones) from overseas.
The first band of the night was Young Rising Sons, a quartet from Red Bank, New Jersey. It was a homecoming show from them, so fans were electric throughout their opening set. “This is the first time we came back since we signed to Interscope Records and we want to thank you guys!” They played through songs off their EP that was released in July, including tracks like “High” and “King of The World”. You should definitely keep an eye on this band for an album to come soon.
Next was CRUISR, a indie pop band from Philadelphia. There was this certain hometown theme going for this show as there were a lot of fans who came from all over the tri-state area for this show. The songs “All Over ” and “Don’t Go Alone” really sounded good live. Between all three bands, CRUISR seemed like the one act that was more in the element and laid back. It was a good juxtaposition to the very energetic crowd and actually got them to settle down and listen to the music.
Now, I had first gotten familar with The 1975 through FIFA 2015 as their song, “The City”, is one on the menu choices for music. It is a well written and catchy song and I found myself singing it around the house just out of nowhere. This is the song that the band opened up with, and there was a barrage of screams and girls climbing over the barricade like some zombie apocalypse. Lead singer Matt Healy is a throwback to a 70’s lead singer like Jim Morrison of The Doors. He’s pretty much charismatic being himself, which I feel strengthens the connection between the genuine feeling of the band and their fans.
I don’t think I saw anybody stand still or be silent for the entire hour and a half long set. Keep in mind, most of these younger fans were at Starland Ballroom for 10 plus hours. Songs like “M.O.N.E.Y.” and “She Way Out” had everybody belt out the lyrics in unison. There was a poignant moment where Healy spoke to the crowd before the band performed “You” and asked for everyone to put their phones down. “We are all connected and I want to see you. I want us to have this moment.” Everyone obliged and it made the performance of the song that much more powerful. The only lights that were present were the well designed square lights of the band as they clashed with fans singing the lyrics.
I’m happy to have been allotted to shoot a lot of shows this year, but this one in particular showed what you can do when the act you’re shooting puts their heart into their craft. It shows. Recently named the “Hardest Working Band of 2014” by Gigwise, I think this is a connection that will last a long time if The 1975 stays true to themselves. I look forward to them taking a bit of time off and coming back with a good sophomore album.
The 1975 Set list
So Far (It’s Alright)
She Way Out
Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You