A line of (mostly) teenage girls stretched down the block and around the corner from the Tower Theater on Wednesday, December 3rd. Many of the fans had been camping out on the sidewalk with blankets and sleeping bags since the day before, all hoping to get a spot near the front row when the doors opened for the sold-out, general admission show. To a casual passerby, the assumption could be made that One Direction or Taylor Swift was in town… but you know the saying about assumptions.
In actuality the rabid gaggle of fans was there to see British rockers ‘The 1975’. The first time we caught The 1975 was at Union Transfer (June 2013) when they opened for ‘The Neighbourhood’ and we’ve been big fans ever since. The band returned to Philly in October of 2013 and we interviewed lead-singer Matt Healy before they sold-out Union Transfer as the headlining act. At both of the Union Transfer shows, the crowd was far more diverse than what we saw at the Tower Theater (which was probably 80% teenage girls), prompting us to wonder when the band’s fan-base (in Philly anyway) took a turn for the purse. Could it be the recent rumors that Healy has started dating Taylor Swift? We have to wonder.
The show kicked off at 8pm with an opening set by ‘Young Rising Sons’. We weren’t able to get inside in time to photograph them (due to the massive line outside) but we enjoyed the last bit of their set that they closed out with their biggest hit, ‘High’.
Up next was Philly’s own ‘CRUISR’ who has garnered oodles of extra attention since they began touring with ‘The 1975’. The band released their second EP ‘All Over’ in September. Albeit short in length (three songs), the EP is chock full of catchy, up-beat pop-hooks.
The Tower Theater crowd warmly embraced CRUISR’s sound, rocking out to front-man Andy States and company from start to finish. This was our first time hearing the new tracks in person and we thought they sounded great. CRUISR is well on their way to fulfilling their pop-music dreams.
Fog slowly rolled into the Tower Theater (pumped in by machines from the stage and from the back of the floor) setting the eerie tone for the UK headliners. When the lights finally dimmed and The 1975 took the stage, the roar of screams (and shrieks) from the crowd was almost deafening. Healy and the band hit the stage and opened with ‘The City’ before transitioning into ‘Milk’ and ‘M.O.N.E.Y.’.
The sheer amount of videos and photos being shot from cell phones was impressive. It seemed that no one wanted to risk not documenting the performance for future viewing (or just to make their friends who weren’t there insanely jealous). Whether singing, playing guitar, dancing around, or drinking wine (straight from the bottle), Healy had the audience fully captivated from start to finish. At times it was hard to understand what he was saying when he addressed the crowd as his thick English accent was on full display.
The fifteen song set was loaded with fan sing-a-longs, dancing, more shrieking, and even a request for fans to put their cameras and phones away for just one song so that everyone could be present in the moment, something that we think more people should try to do at concerts. It seems that everyone is so concerned with documenting their experience for Instagram or Twitter that they forget to really experience it. Live in the now kids, live in the now. The 1975 wrapped up on ‘Girls’ which of course had all of the girls in the place going bananas.
Healy assured the crowd that the band is working on their second album and that when they next return to Philly, fans will be treated to a lot of new music. The band returned for a four song encore that they concluded with their two biggest hits ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Sex’. One thing is for certain, The 1975 have become superstars and we wouldn’t be surprised if they are selling out an even larger venue the next time they return to town.
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
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You can view an expanded photo gallery below (click images to enlarge):