The lights on the stage cut out. Roars filled the crowd. That’s when it became clear that this wouldn’t be an ordinary show.
The 1975 graced the stage of Virginia Credit Union Live on Wednesday, May 22 with no intention of being any less than they played themselves up to be. Lead singer Matty Healy stated, “We are objectively the best we’ve ever been, and it’s because of the Internet.” Opening with “Give Yourself a Try” and “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” from their most recent album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the energy was high throughout the night with fans dancing, and singing every lyric to every song.
Before this however, their openers Pale Waves and No Rome had played outstanding sets. Fans of The 1975 should be familiar with these acts, as they are all under the umbrella of the 1975’s record label, Dirty Hit. No Rome later came out during The 1975’s set to perform their upbeat song “Narcissist.” But the tone of the concert wasn’t always carefree, as the 1975’s Healy using his platform efficiently.
Healy took an opportunity between songs to speak to his captive audience. He began by saying, “You all look so young and full of potential,” then stated that “It’s getting really serious with all this… climate, politics, end of the world, kind of coming to a head.” Then he delivered what he described as his one piece of advice: “If you have a really dogmatic pious belief that infringes on the liberties of other people… For example, if a religion is telling you that it’s not alright to be gay, you shouldn’t be religious anymore.” The crowd cheered.
It wasn’t just his between-song speeches that talked about important issues during the concert, though. The 1975’s songs include in-your-face references to gun control, religion, drug addiction, suicide, and global politics. Healy addressed the crowd before “Robbers” by saying he wouldn’t change anything about the song, except that he would remove the guns from the music video. He also congratulated a man in the crowd for being one year sober; Healy has spoken openly about his own struggles with addiction in the past.
In the last stretch of their set, The 1975 played classics like “You” and “Fallingforyou.” Before their song “I Like America and America Likes Me,” Healy talked about his fears of touring in America. “I bring a doorstop with me, and that’s just a compulsory thing, so I can just kick it out in case anybody tries to shoot me.” Healy’s statement echoes the fears of countless artists in the wake of such events as the Las Vegas Jason Aldean concert shooting, and the Ariana Grande show in Manchester, England, where a bomb was detonated.
But the energy wasn’t completely tense. The 1975 closed their set with “Chocolate” and “The Sound,” songs they know will get their crowd moving. If there is one takeaway from this show, it’s that The 1975 knows how to play to their crowd with both strong sociopolitical statements and unforgettable pop melodies. And they do it brilliantly.
All photos by Spencer Davidson.
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond