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The 1975 At The Fonda Theatre: Review

Alexandra Aftalion |
November 3, 2013 | 6:16 p.m. PST


The 1975 on stage at the Fonda (Alexandra Aftalion/Neon Tommy)
The 1975 on stage at the Fonda (Alexandra Aftalion/Neon Tommy)
Manchester-based quartet The 1975 made their way back to Los Angeles for their second sold out L.A. show in the span of four months. The group played West Hollywood’s Troubadour with Bad Suns in July, and returned to play The Fonda Theatre this past Friday night.

Linus Young, an indie rock group hailing from Los Angeles, was the night’s opening act, performing a mellow yet promising set. The band began with their melodious tune “Home,” which has a glossy and calming sound, and proceeded to play their debut single “City of Sin.”

The “City of Sin” music video, shot in the deserts of Las Vegas Valley, features the female and male leads of the band driving intoxicated along on a never-ending road, searching for purpose. 

The group closed with “Give It Away,” a goose-bump inducing tune with a sharp vocal contrast between the female and male leads. Despite the songs’ indie rock feel, there is a noticeable R&B style in their music, particularly in the drum rhythms, similar to The 1975. 

Linus Young does not have any music out online besides “City of Sin,” making them a bit of secret and obscurity. It will be interesting to keep tabs on them in the coming years. Check out their SoundCloud and follow them on Twitter.

After Linus Young’s set drew to a close, the crowd waited in immense anticipation and screams while The 1975 did a quick sound check behind The Fonda’s curtain. 

The 1975, one of the new British talents to swim across the pond particularly in 2013, is composed of Matthew Healy (vocals and guitar), Adam Hann (guitar), George Daniel (drums), and Ross MacDonald (bass). The four-piece draws from a synthesis of influences including indie rock, R&B, invigorating electronica, and Michael Jackson '80s pop sythn. The quartet is the epitome of a group that defies the rules and genres of music. The 1975 sound like no other, perhaps accounting for their acceleration in popularity in 2013. 

In early 2013, the band still played free shows at local bars. Now, they have become perhaps the biggest breakthrough band of 2013, supporting The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park this past summer and reaching No. 1 on U.K. charts with the release of their self-titled debut album. However, the band has been together for a decade; the four-piece formed in 2002, playing in Battle of the Bands-like shows under various names. 

Starting out as a punk band, their haunting tune “Robbers” got them a manager in 2009. Until 2011, they toured England and gained a larger following. However, the group waited to sign and continued releasing self-produced EPs until they were sure that they would be able to do everything under their terms. In 2011, they decided to sign to the U.K.’s indie label Dirty Hit.

Once “Facedown”, the band’s first EP, was released in 2012 on Dirty Hit, the band started to gain a following outside of their home fan base. The lead track from the debut EP, “The City,” played on BBC Radio 1, leading to more buzz. Toward the end of 2012, they released a second EP, “Sex”, and the following year, a third EP entitled “Music for Cars”, which featured their U.K. Top 20 single “Chocolate.” 

Their fourth EP, “IV,” gained them a greater following in the States. The group was also invited to play at SXSW while on tour with The Neighbourhood. The quartet’s autobiographical self-titled debut LP, recorded with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals, The Kooks) launched at No. 1 in the U.K. with its release in September, so they’re not doing half bad. Purchase their debut album here

READ MORE: The Neighbourhood at the Hollywood Palladium: Review

Taking the stage to the first track on their self-titled debut album, with a bottle of red wine in Healy’s hand, The 1975 opened with anthemic, infectious tune “The City,” which especially showcased drummer George Daniel’s rhythm. The quartet swiftly moved through the set, playing “Milk” and “M.O.N.E.Y.,” in which Healy’s vocals came through a vocoder mic to recreate the sound of the track on the album and to exhibit that R&B vibe and syncopation Healy is obsessed with. Everything on the stage, from their garb to the set design to the lighting, was black and white, establishing the quintessential mood for their music. Healy’s mum was also in attendance, sitting in The Fonda’s balcony. 

The four-piece proceeded to play “So Far (It’s Alright),” during which Healy picked up a fan-made sign from the audience, and also during which an eager female fan threw her bra onto The Fonda’s stage. Healy put the bra on the mic stand, of course. 

After taking a gulp from the wine bottle, Healy carried on to ask, “Why you talk so loud?” in the tune “Talk!,” and then proceeded to play “Heads. Cars. Bending” and “Settle Down,” all met by singing-along and encouragement from the audience. “Settle Down,” a tune about ill-advised relationships seems like a testament to Michael Jackson with its 80s glossy pop mood, synths, guitar hooks, and rhythmic drum beat.

After talking about how nice it is for the band to be back in L.A., The 1975 started to play “Heart Out,” a blend of synths, harmonies, electronica, saxophone, and a sing-along chorus. The band then led into their single “Girls,” a tune about a destructive relationship set to upbeat, intoxicating guitar riffs that just make listeners want to dance. The group transitioned to a slower mood with “Robbers,” the rather ominous song displaying Healy’s fervent vocals and prominent reverbs that drew attention in the band’s formative years. "Robbers" is the only quiet, slow song on their album. 


The quartet went on to play the 80s pop influenced tune “Pressure,” and mixed the last bit of “Pressure” with the intro guitar hook of BBC radio hit “Chocolate,” all met with shrieks from the 18-year-old girls in the room (this writer being one of them). “Chocolate,” the band’s best-known single, gave rise to claps and singing-along. The song’s catchy beat makes a gripping contrast with the notion of a drug, crime, and inebriation filled time in the band members’ lives. Healy says the song is representative of the band’s relationship with figures of authority in their hometown. As the band exited the stage, Healy took off his shirt, which instigated heightened shrieks from the females in attendance.

The band returned to the stage for their encore featuring “Sex” and “You” after the crowd chanted, “We want ‘Sex’!” in unison. “Sex,” which is set to heavy guitar and drum rhythms, displays the band's autobiographical story of lust, teenage angst, fear, and love. The 1975’s major key melodies, synths, and '80s guitar pop sounds are what make their songs unforgettable. 

Healy said the band will be making its way back to Los Angeles in April 2014. Keep your eyes out; tickets won’t be on sale for too long.

Read more of NT’s show reviews here.

Reach Contributor Alexandra Aftalion here. Follow her on Twitter



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