BY ZACHARY HANSEN/AJC Features Intern
Hailing from across the pond, alternative rock and funk act The 1975 performed before a packed Fox Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Through all the fans screaming and wailing constantly, the band put on a varied and energetic concert, showing why the band is one of the hottest up-and-coming acts right now.
Awash in a haze of purple lights, The 1975 took the stage playing on of their funkiest and most popular songs, “Love Me.” It’s a perfect song to open with, containing loads of energy, which all builds up to the best guitar solo Adam Hann has ever laid to tape. The interplay between Hann’s guitar and Ross MacDonald’s bass was a joy to listen to for the entire night.
The performance of “Heart Out” was the first time John Waugh came out on stage, sporting a saxophone for the solo. Every time the man touched that saxophone, the entire crowd cheered uncontrollably, and Waugh gave them breathtaking solos that didn’t disappoint whatsoever.
The band sometimes dropped the tempo and energy for a somber, more synth-driven sound that worked well to build tension. Every member, barring drummer George Daniel, had their own keyboard, and similarly to a post-rock or electronica act, the music constantly built until it finally reached its climax and allowed the tension to diffuse. Very few words were sung by front man Matthew Healy during these parts. For some audience members, this would be the lull of the show, but others surely found these segments as highlights because of the variety and build-ups they provided.
Daniel’s drum kit also yielded itself to a plethora of sounds. On top of a pretty standard wooden drum set, he also boasted an electronic kit in the corner, allowing him to transition smoothly into the role of drum machine whenever it suited the songs.
One of the absolute highest points of the show was the performance of “Loving Someone.” Not only does the syncopated swing feel of the song provide one of the band’s best grooves to date, the band also used this track to make the only political statement of the night. Healy said, “This song is about loving people,” to introduce it. Moments after saying that, a gigantic, flickering LGBT Pride flag lit up the stage to a roaring applause from the audience. It remained there for the rest of the track.
At one point, Healy told the audience to sit down in their seats — this was a concert where everyone had assigned seats after all, not that you could tell since this was the only time they were ever used the entire night. The band performed “FallingForYou,” a bonus track from the deluxe version of their self-titled debut album. Healy said he wanted this to be a different moment from the rest of the night, and he definitely accomplished that by giving the audience a different perspective and by playing a song only those who listened to b-sides would already know.
The show ended without the performance of songs such as “Chocolate” and “The Sound,” so fans weren’t fooled at all. In fact, they all pulled out their phones, put on their flashlight and illuminated the stage — killing any inkling of surprise when the band just walked back on stage, not veiled in darkness.
The 1975 finished off by playing the aforementioned “Chocolate,” and to the surprise of absolutely no one, “The Sound” was the final song. Also to the surprise of no one, The 1975 provided a fantastic mix of funk, rock and pop while also playing an incredibly diverse set that had people go from dancing to swaying to dancing again.
There was only one opening act for the show, New Jersey rapper 070 Shake. This was an incredibly weird opening act choice, since 070 Shake has very little stylistically in common with The 1975, but she showed lots of emotion on a few tracks and also had one moment where she showed off a nice double-time flow on her song “Champions.”