Published Oct 25, 2016Edmonton hearts the 1975 — or at least that was the general consensus from the frenetic crowd at the Shaw Conference Centre last night.
The lights dimming before the first song prompted an ear-splitting roar of screams from the eager fans, most of whom were in their late teens to early twenties, and their enthusiasm didn't falter during the British pop-rock band's 90-minute set—neither did their volume. Lead vocalist Matthew Healy had them hanging on every word, which they sang back to him with abandon. "He's so beautiful" and similar sentiments of adoration could be overheard from star-struck fans, and there were even a few tears shed during some of the more heartfelt numbers. The 1975 have certainly amassed a dedicated following, and those fans aren't afraid to express their love loud and proud.
The energetic band moved smoothly through tracks from their 2013 self-titled album and the verbosely titled new record I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it before taking a quick break and returning for a three-song encore that finished strong with "The Sound." It was a polished show that sounded true to the albums — as we know, this isn't always a given with modern artists — and maintained plenty of dynamic interest through a healthy balance of the group's anthemic hits and more introspective numbers like "Lostmyhead" or "If I Believe You," which were often paired with Healy sipping red wine or taking a drag from a cigarette.
It was often these quiet, atmospheric moments that offered a glimpse into the depth behind the band and its infectious hooks, not to mention the instrumental talent of the group's members—guitarist and keyboard player Adam Hann was particularly good. Backed by a stage setup of four light pillars that transformed with colour and imagery to complement each number, the band focused on the music rather than stage banter. The captive audience didn't seem to be bothered, and when Healy did address them, even if it was simply a passing "Thank you," he was met with a cacophony of screams. His longest interaction came about halfway the set when he expressed his gratitude for The 1975's Canadian fans before quickly turning to the topic to politics.
"We're English, and we fucked everything up democratically and politically and socially," he began, no doubt referring to Brexit. "We've been seeing so many young people every night and telling them to vote. And then we come to Canada and you guys are just cool. No, but seriously, we love Canada and we love what you stand for."
It was a variation of the same message Healy's professed to crowds across the United States during the band's current world tour, imploring millennials to exercise their right to vote in the impending election. But partially recycled or not, the crowd ate it up. Healy also took a moment to proudly wave a rainbow Canadian flag passed over the barricade by a fan before launching into the fittingly titled song, "Love Someone."
The show was strong despite the lack of authentic interaction, though it was also devoid of any truly stand-out moments. That said, The 1975's hits are incredibly catchy and will be stuck in your head long after one of their shows. But even for the more casual fan who doesn't have the albums memorized front to back, it was an enjoyable evening of fun music from a band that undoubtedly has plenty more to come.
I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it is available for purchase on CD via Umusic.