The 1975 is a boy band for young adults.
That’s not a dig at their music, which is catchy dance pop, it’s a conclusion reached after watching the reaction the British band received when it took the stage at a very sold out Uptown Theater on Sunday night: as if the Jonas Brothers had appeared before a crowd of pre-adolescent girls.
Of the 2,300 fans in the theater, a large majority were females, most, it appeared, 18 and older, and several times during the first two songs they unleashed gales of screams that resembled 1,000 referees blowing their whistles.
They performed amid a fierce light show, under a bank of lamps high above them plus a spotlight fired from the soundboard. There was lots of fog, too, creating plenty of shadow and murk. During the opening song, “The City,” nearly everyone downstairs held their phones aloft to record or photograph the moment. The floor looked like a sea of bobbing stars and flitting fireflies.
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The shaggy-maned Matthew Healy is the band’s lead singer, and he displays plenty of rock star swagger, strutting back and forth, swigging from a wine bottle, baring his chest, putting forth some dandy Jim Morrison moves. He was backed by a three-piece that added percussion, bass, guitar and plenty of synthesized sounds.
Its music is extracted from variety of ’80s acts, from new wave and funk to pop and soul, from Prince to Duran Duran. “Pressure” was a gust of ’80s pop-soul, embellished with some saxophone unguent riffs that sounded straight out of Glenn Frey’s “You Belong to the City.” They can evoked more contemporary bands, like Phoenix. “Chocolate,” one of the encores, delivered a jaunty Vampire Weekend vibe.
Most of their music is irresistibly catchy, and most of it sent the crowd into fits of mania. Throughout the 75-minute set, the floor was a throng of fans dancing, singing and bobbing along, in unison. It got so frenzied, Healy stopped the show briefly to ask people to take a few steps backward to relieve the crush up front.
There were a few moments of mellow: “Me,” a low-pulse ballad, and “Robbers,” another encore, which is rife with ’80s synth-pop ingredients.
They closed with the lascivious “Sex,” which rides the kind of chiming guitar riff that U2’s “I Will Follow” was built on. It’s a racey song with adult themes, a sign that, screams and squeals aside, the boys in this band know their audience and how to play to them
The City; Milk; M.O.N.E.Y.; So Far (It’s Alright); She Way Out; An Encounter; Settle Down; Heart Out; Pressure; Me; Falling for You; You; HNSCC; Menswear; Girls. Encore: Robbers; Chocolate; Sex.