There is usually a large discrepancy between how an artist sounds in the studio versus at a live show. Singers such as Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Selena Gomez have to lip sync to sound the same, and other artists just aren’t as good live. However, this is the opposite case for English alternative pop/rock band The 1975. Their instrumentals and vocals are accentuated in each live show they play, and they continue to astound me with how beautiful their music sounds when it is right in front of you.
After the last notes dwindled in Asbury Park, NJ, where I saw The 1975 live last summer, I immediately thought to myself that I needed to see this band again. When I found out that they would be playing a show in Connecticut, I jumped at the opportunity and grabbed some friends to come with me on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The ride there was blissful, and as I was the only person that had seen them live before, I could sense the excitement coming from everyone as we stopped at a rest stop for food.
We arrived at Mohegan Sun Arena, an immense, secluded casino close to New London, CT. The crowd was the most varied I had ever seen at a show. There were grandmothers that looked like they were lost, tired dads who were hating their lives, dragged to the show by their teenage daughters and then 20-somethings like us who were willing to drive over a hundred miles to see this band.
Unlike the previous time I saw them, I was not in general admission, but rather in a seat fairly close to the stage. As the lights went down, the crowd screamed as a DJ appeared on the stage. He reminded me of DJ Khaled by continually cutting off a song once the audience would get into it and repeatedly asking if everyone was ready for The 1975. A couple of minutes in, a man with dreadlocks came onto the stage and started moaning different sounds into his microphone. At first I thought that it was a random guy who hobbled onto the stage, but the DJ then announced him as the opener, 070 Shake. Shake melodramatically complained through about 20 minutes of music and reminded me of a moody Fetty Wap. I’ve heard bad music before and sat through terrible DJs and bands. However, this had to be the worst. Thankfully Shake was over as quickly as he began, and the crowd became excited again.
At 10 minutes to 9:00 p.m., a buzzing sound began. As the clock creaked towards 9, the sound became louder and smoke appeared on the stage, and finally, the opening notes to the title song, “The 1975,” began to play. As it began to finish, the band emerged onto the stage and everything went black before the stage erupted into bright pink for the band’s leading single off their newest album, “Love Me.” The crowd was ecstatic and as lead singer Matty Healy said “What’s up Connecticut” in between verses, the sounds of teenage girls losing all of their shit could be heard vibrating throughout the arena.
The band effortlessly transitioned into “Ugh,” another signature track off of “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” the band’s mouthful of a sophomore album. The show primarily played songs from it, but also included popular tracks from their first album, “The 1975,” and a collection of ambient tracks from their four EPs. The first third of their massive 22-song playlist was filled with dance-heavy jams that kept that crowd going insane. “This Must Be My Dream,” “M.O.N.E.Y.” and “Robbers” were personal favorites, yet I was confused as to what happened with the second third of the setlist.
While the most surprising play was “Undo,” a mellow EP track, the rest of that part of the setlist was a mixture of pop dance tracks and relaxed instrumentals that tended not to blend well. Songs such as “She’s American” would hype you up, but then a 15-minute interlude of “Please Be Naked” and “Lost My Head” does not necessarily kill the vibes, but definitely brings you back down. I love the instrumental tracks just as much as anyone, but I always come to shows to dance and hear Healy’s unique vocals.
The encore consisted of a surprising play of “Medicine,” a laid-back track released in the interim period between the two albums. It’s my least favorite song by the band, but it was still interesting to see live. Following that, a beautiful rendition of “If I Believe You” left the crowd speechless before erupting for the classic “Chocolate.”
Finally, they closed with “The Sound,” and everyone was jumping as the final chorus played and Healy thanked us for being one of the best shows they had ever played. I was left voiceless and just stared at my friend, incredulous at the beauty we had just witnessed.
Songs such as “You” and “fallingforyou” were taken off of the playlist for some strange reason, and I cannot fathom why. While the concert was absolutely stunning and each second of the almost two-hour set blew me away, I was still disappointed that some of my favorite songs weren’t played.
The 1975 is not just a band you can listen to on an iPhone. Their songs are expanded live, as each note is accentuated and the sound feels more complete. Everything that you cannot capture in a studio is apparent on that stage. My favorite aspect of their show is always the visuals, and I find myself excited to see which bright colors and themes that will appear as each song begins to play, whether it be the bleak blacks and grays for “Undo” or pink/ lime green for “Somebody Else.” This band continues to astound me, and I cannot wait to see them again in the future.