By Chandra Johnson
NEW YORK -- “I wanna connect with everybody,” curly-haired The 1975 frontman Matthew Healy said, glass of red wine in hand. He usually brings a whole bottle onstage, but Friday night (Dec. 4) was different. The Manchester foursome were playing the second show on their U.S. headlining tour, bringing their colorful, cinematic world to a frenzy of fans at Terminal 5. And for 90 minutes, you were theirs and they were yours.
“They take moments to actually acknowledge the fact that we’re here and [to] connect with their people,” said one fan, Alli G., who traveled from North Carolina for the show, meeting up with three other fans she met online by bonding over their love of The 1975.
Though social media does play a critical role in the discovery and creation of the band, Healy pled with the audience to put their phones away for “You,” if only for five minutes: Why do we always need to document everything, sharing with friends on social media or seeing every bit of a song through a screen as opposed to actually experiencing it?
The 1975 just want you to experience, especially on this tour. Inspired by visual artists James Turrell and Robert Irwin, they’ve created an environment for the performance. Projecting black-and-white television static behind “The City,” or their most notable backdrop of the night, a cityscape with a blazing red-orange sunset feel to “Medicine,” the whole thing really did feel like the cinematic evolution they strived for.
But the most climatic moments came, no, not when Matty unbuttoned his white blouse before “Fallingforyou," but when they performed four new songs -- “She’s American,” “Somebody Else,” “The Sound” (which sounds like it’s inspired by Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover”) and ballad “Change Of Heart” (a “Robbers” cousin) throughout the night.
It seems like these dudes are really settling into their rock-star persona, but they’re not pretentious (a word Matty LOVES to overuse) about it. Sure, they’re playing bigger venues this coming spring -- Barclays Center in Brooklyn, for example, something some fans disliked due to the lack of intimacy -- working with household directors and fleshing out their sound, but there’s no denying how much they love their fans.
“Look at me. Look at me. Calm the f--k down,” Matty mouthed to the crowd, whose relentless pushing around made them look like a sea of girls. But when you end a show with a “song about shagging each other,” it’s hard to contain yourself.