Four starry-eyed British musicians. An illuminated New York stage. Countless screaming American girls.
Beatlemania? Not exactly.
The English indie pop-punk rockers took The Paramount in Huntington by storm Tuesday, December 9th, delivering a fiery, emotional set to a sold-out sea of rabid fans who shrieked and danced and rejoiced along throughout the entire performance.
The band’s popularity was apparent way before they even walked onstage—with a line of excited ticketholders stretching from the venue’s entrance south, down New York Avenue, and wrapping around the corner of East Carver Street, the next block away. Ranging in age from what looked like teenagers to those in their 40s and 50s, the concertgoers were predominately dressed head-to-toe in black, but also sported flannels, high heels and combat boots. There were a whole lotta tattoos, too.
One ambitious fan, Stephanie, of Seaford, donned a homemade T-shirt proclaiming: “DIBS ON THE LEAD SINGER.” With recent rumors of The 1975 lead singer Matt Healy and pop sensation Taylor Swift becoming extra-friendly in the last few weeks, of course her shirt begged the question: “Should Taylor Swift be worried?”
I’d say so.
Inside, the blinding stage lights allowed for the majority of the band to join their instruments seemingly undetected. First, drummer George Daniel appeared—his bass drum shaking the venue like a blast of thunder on a warm summer evening. Next, Ross MacDonald grabbed his bass guitar and the applause grew louder, rising again when Adam Hann picked up his guitar and gave it a strum.
Then, as the stage lights dimmed and the spotlights intensified, Healy finally poked his head out from behind a curtain and walked toward the lead mic. His presence elevated the crowd to an all-time frenzied high, the girls shrieking to supersonic levels. The Paramount itself seemed to sway with each step he took closer to the mic. Dressed completely in white, the 25-year-old literally and figuratively radiated a larger-than-life aura to an accepting crowd of shadows.
With the last of the four-man band complete, total domination ensued.
The 1975 possess a somewhat unique, if recognizable, sound, meshing elements of ‘80s synth-pop, electronica and radio rock with catchy guitars and lyrics about, well, “Sex,” “Girls” and “Chocolate,” among other topics, including drugs, relationships and teenage drama. (Healy told NPR he constantly has “a tiny John Hughes movie” in his head while writing.) Bands they’ve been compared to include fellow British groups Duran Duran, UB40 and Bastille.
Aesthetically The 1975 looked classic rock and roll stripped of all the bells and whistles of frilly cloths or decorated mic stands, though Healy pranced around the stage like Mick Jagger or Freddie Mercury.
When he sang the lines to “Settle Down,” the black lipstick in the crowd synced precisely. “She Way Out” was also a tremendous hit with the audience; in this new age of concerts waving devil-horned hands, fists and lighters were replaced by smart phones hovering above the crowd with the record buttons clearly on.
The 1975 played for nearly two hours, with two encores for the crowd. Considering the band is lesser-known than others in their genre, it was surprising to see every seat in the house sold-out, yet not a single person actually sitting.
The rhythmic sound and overall good-feeling vibe of The 1975 had the crowd dancing throughout the show to fan favorites, such as “Sex,” which transformed the whole place into one giant Goth-punk sing-a-long. They ended their set with the catchy “Girls,” one of their better-known songs. The audience was thrilled.
When they came back out and played “Chocolate” everyone really got into it—at Healy’s request, everyone holding hands for the entirety of the song.
This is what The 1975 closed their show with. They tossed “keepsakes” into the audience as they left the stage, everything from guitar picks, drum sticks, empty water bottles and set lists to a sweaty T-shirt; all showering down on a very eager crowd.
With the Brit-pop storm that is The 1975 finally subsiding for the night, hundreds poured out of the theater and back into downtown Huntington—satisfied, at least for now.