Story by Haley Mullenix
Photo Credit: Tour Photographer Jordan Curtis Hughes
This week (12/8) The 1975 made their way back to the state of Missouri for the first time since 2017. At that time, the band played The Starlight Theatre in Kansas City and were touring their album I like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. Five years and three albums later The 1975 graced the stage at Cable Dahmer Arena in support of their brand-new album Being Funny in a Foreign Language.
This tour, “The 1975 At Their Very Best” brings forth a new chapter for the English pop rock group. New songs, new setup, and new openers! Thursday night the band was supported by labelmates, as well as Kansas City’s very own BLACKSTARKIDS. The trio took the stage with an enticing bit of “phunk” and cyber-sci-fi sort of feel. With lots of hometown love from the crowd they got the room jumping and all warmed up for The 1975.
Soon after BLACKSTARKIDS left the stage, a large blue curtain billowed down towards the front of the crowd. A large spotlight shown across its surface with a shadow of the words “The 1975”. The subtle theatrical flair set the tone for the rest of the night.
The soft intermission music picked up, and the lights went out as the arena vibrated with a chorus of cheers and whoops. The curtain fell revealing a dark stage, reminiscent of a Broadway play. With two tiers to the stage it was almost like looking into a dollhouse. There were multiple rooms for each instrumentalist, a spiral staircase, and a roof. Other standout features included a bookcase holding The 1975 lyric books, a wall of vintage TVs that relayed crowd footage throughout the show, and even a front door each member would leave and enter through. A street light flickered with a loud buzz before lighting up the right side of the stage. As band members arrived at the house they trickled in through the front door turning on lamps as they walked to their stage position. Front man Matty Healy was the last to take his place. The crowd screamed as he kicked off what would be a 25 song set from center stage at his piano.
The entirety of the concert was very theatrical. As the show progressed Matty appeared on the roof of the makeshift house to sing “I like America & America Likes Me”. In another instance, the band left through the front door one by one, putting on coats and stopping to check themselves in a mirror that doubled as a camera for the crowd to see on the screens.
The 1975 have always been a band with a lot to convey, showcasing strong story writing in their songs. Often, if not always, their music can strengthen the bond between people who relate to the band's tales of the human condition. Matty spoke passionately about his personal experience navigating the world, the ever changing landscape of the internet, and how he often feels like a “poster child” yet still struggles to always know the right thing to say.
The story that weaved through the show could be perceived as daunting if one wishes to not face it or haven’t themselves experienced it. The central theme being media and internet culture being the external source of a lot of internal struggle for young people and the world as a whole. This anecdote was reinforced as Matty moved to his knees in front of the wall of TVs. A stream of different news clips and propaganda filled the screens as he began doing push ups in front of them. As if the thing that has hurt him was simultaneously the very thing that motivates him. The largest of the TVs went black, opening up before him to crawl through; Disappearing from the stage.
Mattys stage presence has always been a topic of conversation. This night he spoke of how the lines can begin to blur with his “method acting” as he drank from a flask. Though some themes in the show and in their songs are “dark” they are also very real and emotionally raw. Often times detailing Matty’s personal experiences or providing commentary on political and even environmental issues within the world. Speaking with another spectator at the show they noted that despite the dark material, the room felt warm with a, “reminiscent feeling of being home”.
That “at home” sort of feeling brought so much love into the room, especially on stage! Band members Adam Hann (lead guitarist), Ross MacDonald (Bass), George Daniel (Drums) and Matty passed around hugs, laughs, and smiles all night. The 1975 at their very best might be an understatement! What is truly captivating about The 1975 is their ability to speak to so many through their music. For a crowd of people to scream the lyrics of a song and say “I relate to this” even if they haven’t experienced the anecdote themselves. It provides clarity in the realization that we're all more alike then we often realize.
It was an immense pleasure to experience this night with The 1975. I feel incredibly fortunate to have shared a space with the band and so many fans. I left with much to ponder and a great appreciation for all the work that went in to crafting such an immersive concert experience.
The 1975 have just a few more shows to close out the year before embarking on a world tour after making their way back to the UK in early 2023. Be sure to check out their latest album Being Funny In A Foreign Language and follow the band on their socials to stay up to date on what they do next!
12/12 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena
12/16 – Newport, KY @ PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION
12/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ UPMC Events Center
Thanks to The 1975's management for having us out. Check out the gallery below from tour photographer Jordan Curtis Hughes.
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