It was a British Invasion for a whole new generation Monday night, an event attracting nearly all the 20-somethings in Utah Valley (or so it seemed). This time the musical foursome was from Manchester, not Liverpool, England, and only the lead singer sported a gray suit and a floppy-haired (albeit curly) moptop haircut, but this band’s appearance was not all that unlike the 1964 style of the Beatles.
Regardless of the differences, the nearly all millennial-aged crowd that filled the UCCU Center in Orem were screaming, swooning, shouting and singing along to the songs of The 1975, a modern-day Fab Four.
Performing a stellar spring concert, just a few weeks prior to the debut of its anticipated fourth album titled, “Notes on a Conditional Form,” the band — featuring lead vocalist Matthew Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald and drummer George Daniel — won over the entire crowd, long-time fans or the newly introduced alike.
Speaking of the newly introduced, while I proudly have become a somewhat new fan of The 1975, my husband who joined me at the concert only had a brief tutorial on the group’s alternative sound. But, as I had hoped, he was completely impressed, joining with crowd members as they bobbed their heads and danced to the catchy beats. He now has a new favorite band that he’s eager to add to his playlist — a complete win in my book!
The stage’s set design, at first glance, seemed simplistic — the expected LED screen backdrop with the addition of three towering rectangular frames of lights — the use of color, video, graphics and even simple words proved profoundly powerful. Lovers of artist Piet Mondrian likely enjoyed the alternating blocks of primary colors flashing on the screens and framework during “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You).” And even fans of New Wave bands like New Order and The Cure would have appreciated some of the synth-pop tunes performed amid a backdrop of neon pinks and greens.
The 1975’s performance also featured a pair of (what appeared to be) identical twins. These extremely energetic ladies, appropriately introduced during the group’s second song, “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” performed throughout the entire show, teaching the crowd (OK, maybe just me) some great new dance moves.
Another highlight of the performance was a subtle-yet-perfectly used conveyor belt. Introduced during the band’s fourth song, “Sincerity is Scary,” Healy reminded fans of the song’s video as he appeared to be walking through a brownstone-filled New York neighborhood. Donning a backpack, floppy-eared knit hat and a pair of headphones, he smoothly danced and strided his way along the moving sidewalk.
The 90-minute performance might not have been filled with overly effusive audience banter from Healy or his band, but the near-capacity crowd certainly didn’t mind. Instead, they welcomed each opening chord with screams of delight as they all launched into singing their favorite, thought-provoking, anti-establishment and even empowering lyrics.
Rounding out the evening, The 1975’s encore featured four of its most popular, well-recognized tunes — “Love It If We Made It,” Chocolate,” “Sex” and “The Sound” — a perfect way to send everyone home dancing and singing.
While Utah’s own British Invasion might not have completely echoed that of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s first American appearance, this modern-day foursome of Matt, Adam, Ross and their own George, proved to thoroughly wow a crowd, solidifying long-time fanships while creating even a few new ones, too.