Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
The 1975 have come a long way since appearing at JBTV Music Television in the summer of 2014, and that was made clear during their headlining performance at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, May 8th with openers No Rome and fellow JBTV alum Pale Waves.
London-based musician No Rome started the show with a performance that radiated chill and laid back vibes; while Pale Waves gave a live performance that bursted with confidence that matched their Goth/Rock/Pop vibe. With Heather Baron-Gracie fronting the band, Hugo Silvani on guitar, Charlie Wood on bass, and Ciara Doran on drums, it was great to see Pale Waves have a stage and audience size that matched their talent.
Shortly after Pale Waves’ set, The 1975 graced the stage and gave the audience a multi-sensory, visual experience. Bold and vivid colors washed across the massive backdrop of LED screens behind the band as the first notes of "Give Yourself a Try" from their most recent release, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, started to take shape.
Theatrics and sophisticated visuals can fall flat if the musicianship is not there, and that is far from the case with The 1975. Each band member plays multiple instruments with Adam Hann on lead guitar, keyboards and synths, Ross MacDonald on bass, keyboards and synths, and George Daniel rounding it off with drums and percussion.
Bathed in mostly magenta and light purple hues, The 1975 frontman Matt Healy worked the front of the stage with awkward delight, donning a fine two piece suit with black sneakers. Healy contorted his body with his tongue hanging out throughout the set, as if in on the joke of the definition of what "rock n' roll star" means in this day and age. The young teenage girls packed at the front gate ate it up, knowing the lyrics to every song, and dancing in wide eyed delight. Matt Healy worked the crowd like a true frontman, even taking moments to say how the band and him loved Chicago. Healy professed his love for Chicago by sharing a story on how he experienced the worst hangover on record right here in Chicago, with all the pain that ensues in trying to recover from an epic night out.
Hangover-riddled anecdotes aside, Healy’s already commanding stage presence was supplemented by the stage configuration and the crafty, back up dancers Taitlyn and Kaylee Jaiy--known professionally as the Jaiy twins. The front lip of the stage had a slow, moving walkway that added showmanship and emotion to every song that was aided by the dance moves of the Jaiy twins. With the multi-talented band members, the cheeky antics of Matt Healy, the dynamic nature of the stage, and the Jaiy twins’ skilled choreography; The 1975 gave the United Center a show that demanded the audience’s full, undivided attention.
See The 1975 perform live on their current North American Tour and buy their latest album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships!