My introduction to The 1975 was at SXSW 2013. Shooting my first Jim Eno Session for Spotify, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours watching the band work through a handful of songs for their session (which you can see my exclusive photos here and listen to their session here.) Every song was an earworm, full of catchy melodies, harmonies, and hooks. We had the guitar riff to "Chocolate" in our heads well after the band had left the studio.
As these things happen, I kept missing them live, but was fortunate to sort out a couple passes through a friend of the band for their . Not only did the band sort me and my friend out, but they were kind enough to give us VIP as well.
Terminal 5 is a much-maligned venue for their dodgy sound issues. As a photographer, I have less an issue with their sound problems than I do whether I can get my cameras into the venue without a photo pass. And Terminal 5 is generally the worst at getting cameras in. I still brought my cameras with me anyway and hoped for the best.
I won't give away how I did it, but I managed to get my cameras in. Two cameras, one prime lens on each, and without pit access, I nabbed as nice a spot as I could from the VIP perch on the balcony, one level up. You make the best photos you can given the situation and the gear you have with you.
The stage set up for The 1975 is brilliant, maybe a bit too heavy on the smoke machine, but the light show is phenomenal. I've been to sold-out shows at T5 before but never seen it as packed as that evening. The swaying mass of girls upfront was amazing and a little frightening because it was very much a situation where I could see people getting crushed at the barrier. At one point, lead-singer Matthew Healy even told the crowd to take two steps back, not that they were listening.
The show was mental. The band flawless. The crowd losing their shit. As always, I tried to strike the right balance between shooting and enjoying the show - especially since I wasn't on assignment. But the light show made it difficult to not make pictures. And toward the end of the show I worked my way to the uppermost balcony and was able to capture a few shots to breakup the sameness of the shots from the VIP section.
2016 looks to be a big year for The 1975 with a new record on the way. Along with it comes the graduated step up from Terminal 5 to Barclays Center in May which I really hope to be at.
Photos from the show are below. What the set lacks in different images is balanced by how creative and colorful the set design is.
All images © Dominick Mastrangelo