The 1975 have consistently sold out good-sized concert venues across the United States for a couple of years now, but it was teenagers who made that a reality. Thus, many older Americans' first exposure to the white-hot English pop-rock quartet came in February courtesy of Saturday Night Live, where the 1975 performed "The Sound" and "Love Me," two relentless earworms from their sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.
On Twitter, there was a surge in the snark levels: "The 1975 has the most annoying lead singer in the history of the world," opined @LiberalMmama. And then there was this perfect little nugget from @90MILEBEACH: "the lead singer of the 1975 looks like a noodle."
No doubt about it, Matty Healy spent his eight allotted minutes on the program preening, pouting, eye-rolling and hip-shaking in leather pants and a bare chest, because these are the things you do when you front one of the coolest bands on Earth — even if not everyone is appreciative.
Few could've seen this coming, presumably, when Healy and his high school mates spent their early years playing punk covers in and around their home town of Wilmslow, England, just south of Manchester. But by late 2012, they had songs playing on national radio in the UK, leading to world tours and gigs supporting bands like Muse and the Rolling Stones. Hype built quickly, and when the 1975 released its self-titled debut album in September of 2013, it debuted at No. 1 on the UK albums chart.
Next up: conquering America. The band played Coachella in 2014 and toured the country more than once, moving quickly from mid-sized rooms to cavernous venues. In Portland, for example, the 1975 jumped from the Doug Fir Lounge (capacity 300) to the Roseland Theater (capacity 1,400) in just six months over the winter of 2013-14. Last April, they headlined the city's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, which holds nearly 2,800.
Besides the charismatic frontman, I Like It When You Sleep is a seamless synthesis of modern electro-rock, faux-indie jangle, tinny funk-pop and most prominently, a very strong '80s vibe. It's sleek and slinky, with the neon glow of a killer hook radiating from every nook and cranny. Simply put, it is completely irresistible.
Which is exactly why I Like It When You Sleep will soon start showing up on "Best of 2016" lists. It's why Saturday night's Knitting Factory show was sold out weeks ago, even though it's the band's first time in Spokane. And it's why the 1975 could possibly be your favorite band someday. You just don't know it yet. ♦
The 1975 with 070shake • Sat, Oct. 22, at 8 pm • Sold out • All-ages • Knitting Factory • 919 W. Sprague • sp.knittingfactory.com • 244-3279