Live Review: The 1975 with Alpine at U Street Music Hall, Washington DC – 20th June 2013

By on Monday, 1st July 2013 at 2:00 pm

Header and Alpine photo by Mary Chang

Manchester born and bred The 1975 made a big splash when they were here in the DC area back in March. But being a still small band for the U.S. market, they got snapped up by a larger American band’s tour. On the road with The Neighborhood throughout the U.S., their path was just a tad too far away for me to get to. Then by magic a local music Web site sponsored them for a mid-tour headliner in my backyard. Sign me up!

Alpine Washington

One-offs make for strange bedfellows though. Support came from the Aussie band Alpine, also sneaking in a one-off after completing a support tour with another band. I’m not quite sure how they got hooked up for this particular show, but the mismatch was a little heavy-handed. With Phoebe Baker and Lou James sharing vocals, the girls took the stage in what I hoped were ‘80s inspired costumes (facial glitter included!) and not what passed as acceptable streetwear in their world. With a lot of “oohs” and “oooos” in their music, I found it quite dull musically. Indeed, I commented to my partner in crime that I would kill myself rather than play lead guitar as it was so monotonous. But they were into it. Thrashing and bopping about as if the music were substantially more energetic than it really was. For my money though, I would give them a total pass.

However, when those Northern boys took the stage, the crowd was ready for them. With a bevy of new(er) songs with titles such as ‘Settle Down’ and ‘Heart Out’, they did an excellent job of fleshing out a full set with both new songs and the familiar tunes from their EPs. Oddly enough, the one EP of theirs released in America has ‘Chocolate’, ‘Sex’ and ‘The City’ all on one disc. Still named ‘IV’ since it was their fourth EP, it combined the singles from the previous EPs released at home. Nonetheless, it gave us Americans something meaty to grab hold of as we await the album.

The 1975 Washington June 2013 1

Energetic, loud and fun frontman Matthew Healy and company rocketed through their catalog, apologising at first that they were going to be playing songs people didn’t know. Not so fast, Mr. Healy. In this age of the internet, if you’ve played, we’ve heard it! Singing and dancing were the order of the night. The ever so slightly funky ‘Chocolate’ was the big hit of the night. Lead singer Healy took the chance of stepping away from the mic at the very first refrain only to have the entire chorus roared back at him. “Yeah, we’re dressed in black from head to toe, we’ve got guns hidden under our petticoats / No, we’re never gonna quit it, no, we’re never gonna quit it, no.” He looked a bit disbelieving but humbled to have such a response and it made the entire band beam in delight. After bringing the set to an enormous crescendo with the one-two punch of ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Sex’, I was puzzled by the set closer ‘You’, but it worked. It may not be the massive sing along of the other two, but it does having the amazing sonic build that takes a band out on a huge high. With the assembled masses drenched in joyful sweat, no-one left with anything other than the great anticipation of them coming back soon.

The high energy set that pulsated through the club proved to this American crowd that all the hype that has been piled onto this band both from SXSW and radio play back at home was well deserved. After Glastonbury, they will be touring a scattering of shows before they are back to tour the UK proper in August. Their eponymous debut album is due from Dirty Hit/Polydor in September.

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[…] the 1975 at U Street Music Hall (20th June 2013) – I’ve been lucky enough to have seen the 1975 5 times this year, with 3 of those times […]

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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