The Tsongas Arena in Lowell hosted one of the hottest international bands in recent years on Wednesday night, as the unique British group The 1975 made their first stop in Massachusetts since last year. Supporting The 1975, were fellow English groups Wolf Alice, and the young artist Amber Bain, performing under the name “The Japanese House”.
At just 20 years old, the young musician delivered an impressively powerful set, performing songs off her two 2015 EPs “Clean” and “Pools to Bathe In”. The Japanese House delivered a sweet yet somber collection of hypnotic-trance rhythm and encapsulating melody. In the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, Bain sported an upside-down Fender Stratocaster, playing the instrument left handed. Combining a unique electronic sound with a mesmerizing black and white light show, The Japanese House set the stage for what was to be a visually stunning show from all three acts.
Next to take the stage was North London’s Wolf Alice. The indie rockers raised the energy level in front of the several thousand fans packed into the Tsongas Center, performing popular songs off their 2015 studio album “My Love Is Cool” including popular singles “Bros” and “Freazy”. By increasing the tempo from The Japanese House’s set, Wolf Alice immediately excited the crowd with songs featuring heavily distorted guitars like “Moaning Lisa Smile”. As the crowd came alive during their set, continued to deliver some of the hardest hitting songs of the night. Despite the challenge of performing between two softer acts, Wolf Alice managed to find a perfect balance between melody and energy to excite the crowd and warm up fans for The 1975.
It was finally time for the main event of the evening. On their first U.S. tour since releasing their sophomore album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” the band’s entrance to the stage was drowned out the ear-shatteringly loud screams of fans throughout the arena. Beginning with their set with the first single off their latest album “Love Me” The 1975 hit Lowell with a wave of energy and funk, making the Tsongas Center feel like a 1980’s dance hall. The group’s unique combination dancy rhythm supplied by bassist Ross MacDonald and at times wacky lyrics from lead singer Matt Healy almost felt reminiscent of a classic Talking Heads performance. Combined with a stunning light show behind them, the 1975 captivated the audience with stunning sights and sounds.
After beginning their set with several high-energy dance driven songs, the band showed impressive versatility in both performance and musical ability, settling down into a string of much slower songs such as “Change of Heart” and “If I Believe You” throughout the middle of the performance. As the band has done since exploding into popularity in 2013, they shared very little communication with the crowed in between songs. Witnessing the performance live felt like an enhanced experience of listening to their records; one song seamlessly blended into the next and with few exceptions did Healy pause to talk to the crowd. As The 1975 let their performance speak for itself, fans connected to pure emotion the group poured out of their performance.
Although The 1975’s set consisted mostly new material, fans were also treated to old favorite’s off their 2013 self titled album including hits like “Chocolate” and “Girls”. Following deafening demand for an encore, the band returned to the stage and performed their current hit “The Sound” and closed the night with “Sex”, one of the songs that launched the group into superstardom just three short years ago. Their performance in Lowell showed many fans that The 1975 has matured greatly during the last three years touring the world. With the continuing success of “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” and their current tour scheduled through August bringing them throughout the U.S. Europe and Asia, 2016 is looking to be the biggest year yet for The 1975. The the tour now heads to Toronto Canada, before traveling to Germany in June.