Live: The 1975 in Phoenix

A younger crowd always brings a unique feel to a concert—the line forms earlier, the chattering is louder, and the outbursts during silences are more profane.

Thus, it’s no surprised that the atmosphere at Phoenix stop of The 1975 tour was supercharged. The girls in the front row began lining up on Monday. The show was on a Thursday. Needless to say, there were some diehard fans in the crowd, which for the record, was a large one. Nearly every seat in Comerica Theater was filled—an impressive feat, seeing as it was a school night.

The 1975 puts a huge emphasis on aesthetics, even creating a stunt to suggest the band had broken up, in order to rebrand their look and color scheme in 2015. It’s not surprising then, that the whole set was a hipster blog dream. Lightning, waves, pastels, city lights, and prisms danced across massive screens, and complex rigs turned the arena into a canvas for the light to paint (although those may have benefitted from a seizure warning with the amount of strobes). Even the displays depicting video of the performance on the sides of the stage emphasized cinematography and artistry. I wrote in my notebook, “fucking beautiful lights,” and fucking beautiful they were.

Speaking of visuals, one cannot talk about The 1975 without talking about Matty Healy. An emo pop legend, he constantly has a horde of teenage grunge girls following him around and professing their love for him. He leaves a trail of wine glasses and cigarette butts around the stage with him, commands attention, and is not left disappointed. While shooting, I had to remind myself “this is not the Matty Healy Show,” but truth be told, it kind of was. Well versed in guitar strumming, synth stroking, and panty dropping, Healy played the heartstrings of the entire audience. And like, some other instruments too.

The set featured a very even mix of classic 1975, self-titled, and I like it when you sleep. Healy dubbed the tour “a celebration of [their] fans and where [they] came from,” and truly played a mix to satisfy everyone, including the band members themselves. While a distinct evolution can be heard throughout albums, The 1975 definitely has a very cohesive sound, and the set really could have been ordered however they wanted. As it were, the band chose pop to bring the energy up, and sax to smooth it out. The set also featured instrumental breaks between songs, further increasing the flow.

If the first stop on this upcoming tour is any indication of what’s to come on this trek, you do not want to miss them when they stop by your town. A 1975 show isn’t a concert—it’s an experience. The visuals and piercing sound work to provide an entirely enrapturing encounter. Phoenix certainly got a treat, and it wasn’t just “Chocolate.”

-Kelly Fox