By Janii Yazon
Just a few minutes past seven on Thursday, December 3, the doors to the House of Blues swung open. After standing in line for as many as eight hours, fans of The 1975 shuffled into the venue. As with any concert, the priority was getting as close as possible by whatever means necessary. A man threw his glasses at the edge of the stage, dropped to his knees, and crawled forward yelling, “I lost my glasses!”
Swim Deep, an English, indie pop band, kicked off the night with an eclectic selection of simple songs and emotional tunes that almost drowned out the crowd, including “Honey” and “She Changes the Weather.” Although they were missing a member (James Balmont, keys and percussion), there were no obvious gaps in the band’s sound. Frontman Austin Williams’ quirky dances reflected his full immersion in the music. He switched between playing guitar and working the tambourine or maracas. Swim Deep did a great job of setting the mood for the night.
But of course, everybody was there to see The 1975. Hanging above the stage were three neon rectangles representative of their debut album cover. During their set, images were displayed to complement the song, ranging from pastel blues and pinks to black and white static. This created a stunning combination of aesthetics.
Once frontman Matt Healy took the stage, it became his playground. He ran and jumped onto any and all of the platforms, extending his passion to reach the balcony seats. Everybody was desperate for him to bless their side of the crowd with his presence. He kept a glass of wine near bassist Ross MacDonald , drinking between and during songs. His drunkenness showed in his increasing gesticulation, but not his vocal performance.
Healy and the audience had a synergy that strengthened throughout the night. He talked about how humbling it is to visit America, thanking everyone for the opportunity. The venue was small enough that his gratitude felt personal, rather than addressing the collective fanbase.
Fans recorded every one of Healy’s words and dance moves. But later, when he asked the audience to put away their phones for at least two songs, requesting they “not live retrospectively,” every cell phone disappeared. Once the next song began, everybody took out their phones again.
The band’s sound was solid, with laudable performances from all the members. John Waugh (saxophone) also impressed the audience by adding a new element to their sound. He was especially praised for his emotive performance during “Medicine.” The band played four songs off their upcoming album: “Change of Heart,” “She’s American,” “Somebody Else,” and “The Sound.” The most dedicated fans already knew every single lyric. They closed out their set with their two most popular songs—“Chocolate” and “Sex”—and the entire venue shook with excitement. The HOB became a safe haven for lost music lovers, and every fan left singing and smiling. It was an unforgettable show that heightened the anticipation for The 1975’s return to Boston next year.