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The X96 Half Ass Show
With Special Guest: VanLadyLove
Powered by The Complex, Budweiser and Coca-Cola
Doors: 7:00 PM
Music: 8:00 PM
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School friends Matty, Adam Hann, George Daniel, and Ross MacDonald formed The 1975 in the English town of Wilmslow, south of Manchester, in 2002. Upon emerging ten years later with the Facedown EP, it was instantly clear that this was a band that was going to be controversial, even problematic, for some. Their sound was unashamedly glamorous (one of Matty’s favorite words), the lyrics heart-on-sleeve, spill-your-guts confessional, and the music brazenly diverse.
When The 1975’s debut entered the UK album chart at No. 1 in September 2013, it cemented in their minds the sense that, if the band were to mean anything, they had to stick to their guns, trust their instincts, and resist outside interference. Ten years of raised hopes, broken promises, and false starts had hardened the four friends, and now, with the prize suddenly within their grasp, they weren’t about to change tack. That old “they sound too different from one song to the next” response had been thrown back at their detractors after all; and, as the saying goes, he who laughs last laughs longest. As Matty says with real fire, such attitudes strike the band’s generation as prehistoric. “The historic adherence to one type of anything is so pointless,” he adds. “My generation consumes music in a completely non-linear way, and we reflect that because that’s how we create. Fifteen-year-olds are listening to A$AP Rocky but also to something way over on the other side from that. Why create one type of music when nobody consumes one type of music?”
That’s not an official manifesto, but as I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It demonstrates, it could be. Who else but The 1975 would follow the pop-perfect FM-radio groove and arch, self-knowing lyrics of “She’s American” with “If I Believe You”? The latter song billows with gospel choirs, cascading harp, and haunting trumpet: a devotional hymn of tormented, existential inquiry. More cautious bands would have buried “If I Believe You” at the end of the album. Not The 1975, and they’re right; placed as it is, the song is devastating precisely because of the contrast.
The band’s beloved ’80s sonic palette dominates the new songs, with echoes throughout of Peter Gabriel, Scritti Politti, INXS, Hall & Oates, and Tears For Fears; but there are other reference points that darken the brew — both “Lostmyhead” and the title track have a Sigur Rós-like expansiveness and complexity — testament, as is the whole album, to the role played by George Daniel, a sonic architect of extraordinary inventiveness and ambition, with whom Matty wrote the album.
Matty, Ross, Adam, and George have made an album of breath-taking scope, ambition, depth and beauty. It’s an album that will come to define 2016, and be looked back on as a game-changer.