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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Matty Healy ‘can’t be arsed’ at The 1975’s New Orleans show 

Indie-pop-rock band The 1975 stopped by New Orleans on Oct. 12 at the Smoothie King Center. Frontman Matty Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald and drummer George Daniel comprise the band, which made its first appearance in New Orleans since 2016 with Wednesday’s show. 

This current leg is a continuation of their “Still… At Their Very Best” tour, which supported the release of their October 2022 album “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” The band made stops across North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania in 2022 and early 2023, marking a grand return to the stage after canceling their tour dates in 2021 due to residual COVID-19 concerns.

The show began at 7:29 p.m. when opener Dora Jar hit the stage. Quirky yet commanding, the northern Californian singer intrigued the crowd as she stomped around the stage with her marionette-like movements. What was more interesting than Jar’s melodic voice or her Bjork-inspired cadence was her boisterous attitude — Jar spent the latter half of her set climbing on top of her band members as she roused the crowd with sweetly aggressive songs like “Multiply.”

At around 8:30 p.m.,  introductory music rang out as the curtains dropped, revealing The 1975 as they walked out onto a set featuring a house underneath a streetlight. At the same time, overhead screens introduced the band with sitcom-esque name subtitles. Healy lit a cigarette as he sat down at a piano and began to play the plucky notes of their self-titled song, “The 1975.” 

The set was intricate yet cozy, giving Healy room to waltz around the stage like it was his own home as he rotated between singing, playing the piano and guitar and taking swigs from his flask. The crowd bobbed along but really lit up during saxophone solos and songs such as “Oh Caroline” and “Robbers,” where the crowd’s voice sounded just as loud as Healy’s.

With this show, The 1975 departed from its previous shows’ more structured, socially charged antics that provided a distinct commentary on the dynamics of masculinity, loneliness and what it means to be a rock star in the modern age. Healy said the show was structured around him “going mental” in a house as a result of being single. He quipped that this was a result of his self-titled “narcissism.” Healy went on to say that he feels happy now, so the show does not make as much sense as it used to.

Photograph by Lila Mago

In reference to the structured concert program, Healy expressed that he “can’t be arsed about it,” stating that, “I don’t wanna do weird theatrics, I just wanna do music.” The lead singer promised the crowd that they were “just going to be The 1975” and that he “can do that without getting into trouble.”

The 1975 is no stranger to trouble and has found itself amidst controversy several times over the past few years, often caused by Healy’s antics, both on and off stage. The band made headlines this summer after a controversial performance in Malaysia during which Healy profanely denounced the anti-LGBTQ+ policies of the Malaysian government and shared a kiss with a male bandmate before exiting the stage 30 minutes after their start time. Shortly after, they canceled their upcoming shows in Indonesia and Taiwan. Healy later addressed the controversy in an impassioned speech at the band’s Oct. 5 show in Dallas.

However, Thursday’s show was an earnest attempt to reel in the band’s stunts. Aside from a faux-political campaign ad urging Americans to embrace redemption, Healy shied away from making any sort of overt political statement. Instead, he focused on the music and its power to connect, urging the crowd to “turn this place into a choir” during “Somebody Else.”

To fans’ dismay, these points of connection will soon come to a halt.. Healy recently announced that after their final stop of “Still… At Their Very Best” on March 24 in Amsterdam, The 1975 will be going on an indefinite hiatus.

Nevertheless, Thursday’s show made a mark in The 1975’s over 20-year career, not because of one overtly raucous or political act, but because of a demonstration of the band’s fullness in identity and direction. With an act that felt grounded and heartening, The 1975’s New Orleans show was the band at its best. 

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