A sea of what looked like 400 people was spread out all over the roped-off section of the sidewalk designated for eager fans awaiting The 1975‘s WaMu Theater performance, despite the fact that there was still five hours until doors opened, and six hours until the show started. Apparently, people had been trickling in the night before, and were sent home with wristbands after being told to come back day of show. The crowd slowly started to build further and further back, to the point that you couldn’t even see where the giant mass of people ended. Suddenly, two hours before the doors were set to open, the back half of the line all stood up, and began walking forward.
Prior to this incident, everyone was comfortably sitting or lying on the ground and had plenty of space. After they started walking, everyone stood up and dashed madly towards the front of the line. Security guards were walking around confused, stating that nothing was happening for at least another hour and a half. So there we were; way too many people packed into a very small space waiting for another two hours for doors to open. Though there were spaces on either side of the line, no one was allowed to hop the barricade to get out — you had to go all the way through the line. This made for several angry moms trying to get through the line back to their kids and they were simply told they were going to have to fight their way through, all the way from the back.
Eventually, security guards opened part of the barricade 40 yards from the front of the line, and those people from the middle of the mob were able to come and form a separate line next to the original ones. Obviously, people in the front of the incipient lines got pretty upset because they had been waiting longer, a fight almost broke out between a few girls, dirty looks were exchanged, but everyone got through eventually.
Walking inside, you’re instantly transported into the alternate universe The 1975 creates for themselves. A fog machine running, filling the room with a pink haze from the stage lights, and some calm music.
The Japanese House’s set commences, opening up a night of wonder. I didn’t think anyone in the crowd would be very interested, they seemed like the kind of openers that everyone just politely sits through, waiting for the main act. I was very wrong. They walked on stage, and the crowd started screaming at the top of their lungs. A majority of the crowd seemed to know all the words, and the girls next to me were shouting the singer’s name and all the lyrics the entire time. A lot of openers don’t fit super well with the main band, but are simply there because a gig’s a gig, and the exposure is great. The Japanese House, however, fit really well with the 1975, and that’s instantly evident. They have more of an ethereal/atmospheric and electronic sound. The lighting started out pretty basic, but throughout their set, it became really tailored to their songs, flashing at all the right times, resulting in a really intense performance. The band was incredibly humble, and had a great time with the crowd. The music isn’t quite my pace, but they were enjoyable to watch nonetheless.
As the band is getting closer to entering the stage, a low white noise begins to fill the speakers, building volume until it was impossible to ignore. The audience lights go down, and the music suddenly cuts out. By this point, the crowd’s thunderous cries of excitement took over the room. The lights begin to flash, and the members come on one at a time, waving to the crowd. The bass drops, and the opening guitar lead of “Love Me” begins to play. Frontman Matt Healy is known for his dancing, amusing faces, drinking wine and smoking on stage, and is overall quite a riot and charismatic performer. He walks and dances all over the stage singing, watching the crowd shout the lyrics back at him.
One thing I really like about their latest album is the focus on the lyrics and their diversity. They have an album that you can enjoy without knowing any of the lyrics, but once you learn them, it gives the album a whole new depth. Some of the tracks have classic themes such as love and jealousy, while some are about social issues and the struggle of religion. Their track “Loving Someone” includes verses with Matty quickly singing a jumble of words, which are fun to move around to, but they actually have a pretty strong meaning. The opening lines touch on how the celebrities of mass media mean nothing of substance and have terrible values. The song continues by explaining how kids are being taught that in order to be “normal” or “acceptable,” they need to be attracted to the opposite sex. “Loving Someone” continues with more similar themes, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a powerful song to witness live.
Another legendary bass drop into “Girls,” and everyone is jumping and singing along with the lyrics they’ve been listening to for almost three years. The band leaves the stage, but everyone knows there has to be an encore. Sure enough, within just a few minutes, they run back on and begin to play “If I Believe You,” another very meaningful song. The lyrics that Matty wrote are about his religious journey. He’s open about the fact that he opposes organized religion, but the lyrics suggest that maybe his lack of mental health might be a result of that. To further express this, he sings, “it’s just like I lost my head,” a name of one of the songs on the album, and also a recurring lyric throughout the album. Just to add to the dramatic performance of “If I Believe You,” the giant light screens that cover the back walls are synced up with the backing vocals for the track–growing in brightness and going black to emphasize certain parts of the chorus.
After such a deep and meaningful song, they begin to play a classic favorite, “Chocolate,” which is literally just about weed. Everyone jumps as Matty instructs them to during “The Sound,” and shout the lyrics of “Sex,” the closing song, as loud as they can. The lights shut off, but the energy is still buzzing through the crowd as everyone tries to get over the fact that the set is over.
The 1975 set was amazing. Between the performance of the band, the lights, and the passion of the crowd, The 1975 somehow manages to create their own alternate universe filled with a roller coaster of emotions and lyrics that relate to anyone, no matter where you come from or what you’ve been through.