The 1975 Get Intimate on the Sunset Strip Ahead of Coachella

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Emily Hope
The 1975 perform at The Roxy on April 10, 2019.

Forget having moves like Jagger. Summer 2019 is going to be all about the Matt Healy shimmy. 

As The 1975 got intimate with a tiny Wednesday night (April 10) show at The Roxy in Hollywood, the lack of production didn’t mean a lack of spectacle. The British band’s frontman and twin backing dancers led the 500-strong crowd (which included Demi Lovato) through some choreographed shuffles, slides and even the occasional burst of flossing, in an action-packed 90-minute set. The 1975’s excellent third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, came burdened by the anxieties of life in the digital age, so the sight of a carefree Healy joyfully cutting loose felt like an invigorating contrast.

Also in much sharper focus was the band’s ability to switch-up styles in a heartbeat. With barely a thought, they lunged from taut, Joy Division-aping riffs that make up “Give Yourself A Try”, to the dancehall-flecked “TooTimeTooTimeTooTime,” before hitting the breathless balladeering of early favorite “Robbers.” That genre-agnostic approach has become a hallmark, but their brilliance in execution shouldn’t be taken for granted. Despite their relatively small catalogue, the 1975 can already afford to skip some sure-fire crowd pleasers. “Love Me,” “Chocolate,” and “UGH!” didn’t make the cut for this particular show. They were missed, but with so much quality to fall back on, it wasn’t nearly enough to feel cheated.

 

Since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2013, The 1975 have built a young and fiercely loyal fanbase who are likely to stick with them for years to come. It’s something that doesn’t appear to be lost on quartet (completed by guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel). Healy showed his appreciation throughout not just by working his hips, but by interacting one-on-one with the front row, and even accepting gifts. 

Tickets for the gig (the first of two intimate shows slated for the venue on either side of Coachella’s first weekend) were snapped up either by lucky radio listeners, or committed super fans, who camped outside the venue 24-hours before they went on sale. “You wouldn’t find me doing that,” remarked Healy at one point, saluting that determination.

No where was that bond more apparent than during the “Love It If We Made It” — their grim-yet-anthemic state of the world address, which the crowd sung back at Healy as though they were reciting a gloriously twisted pledge of allegiance. It’s the cathartic festival anthem that 2019 deserves, and probably needs.

The band take their full, arena-sized production (complete with hydraulic lifts and giant light boxes) across North America immediately after Coachella. But for the chosen few crammed into a sweaty Roxy, this was a rare chance to see the 1975 without the bells and whistles. It may not look so good on Instagram this way, but that was probably the point.