Rock the Dome 2016

Rock the Dome returns with new British favorite The 1975

Review: Colorful show and confessional lyrics help the indie-pop headliner win over American audiences.

Last night, Syracuse University students finally took off their beloved yoga pants and school hoodies, swarming the Carrier Dome to see ultra-popular British indie-pop band The 1975 headline the 2016 Rock the Dome concert.

The avid fans, mostly young women in artful makeup and flashy sun dresses, lined up two hours before the opening. But once inside, the fans had to wait a little longer.

Photo: Rachel Kline
New Jersey-rapper Shake opened Rock the Dome.

New Jersey-rapper Shake, part of hip-hop collective 070, warmed up the crowd. Merely content with her somewhat gothic performance and quivering voice, the audience screamed and started waving when asked "Who is a fan of The 1975?"

Unlike Shake’s performance, the second act mesmerized the crowd. Oh Wonder, also a London-based band, brought fresh, toe-tapping electronica and a posh London voice, foreshowing the upcoming British harmonies.

After a long wait and sudden blackout, the cheering crowd finally met the star of the night, The 1975. To a barrage of shouting and applause, lead singer Matthew Healy swaggered to the mic and set off the night with hit song “The 1975” from their self-titled debut album.

Healy maintained good interactions with the audience, greeting the audience by asking, “Ladies and gentlemen, how are you feeling tonight?" He counted “one, two, one, two, three, four” as the wild fans danced to the music.

Healy, apparently, holds great passion for the States. Besides saying with excitement, “We are here, we made it,” he expressed his heartfelt concern about the nearing nerve-racking presidential race.

“There is no political speech, we are pop stars, we know nothing about politics,” Healy said. “We are from a politically and socially f---ed-up country; you are not like us…you have to vote.” The audience, hoping he would get back to singing, responded with a confused “what?”

Besides this awkward interlude, the show itself was an audio-visual feast that justified its popularity. The bright light projection pillars on the stage changed colors and patterns with the songs, washing the audience from blue to yellow, to a warm orange.

The 1975’s most-recent work is the 17-track collection “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” which reached No. 1 status in both the United Kingdom and United States after coming out in February. The band played many of their hits, “She's American,” “Chocolate,” and “Love Me,” which were beautifully presented by Healy’s strong stage presence and flawless cooperation among band members. Fans sang along with Healy, precisely repeating the lyrics. During “Medicine” the excited crowd simultaneously and autonomously turned on the flashlights, creating a sea of sparkling tiny spots. When Healy climbed on the sound box, his body outlined in the darkness made him appear god-like, initiating, again, the slapping on the guardrails and unceasing screams.

It's surprising that The 1975 has such a devoted fan base in Syracuse, considering many other British bands’ futile, yet touchingly perseverant, endeavors of winning the heart of Uncle Sam. The 1975 really knows how to please the American audience with their flaky and confessional lyrics, Instagram-like music styles, and, of course, Healy's slender legs and stylish messy hair.

The energized vibe was tangible; the Brits won over the Americans this time.

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