Oxford four-piece Glass Animals brought their tropical psychedelic pop indie rock to London’s Village Underground for the first of two sold-out UK shows before a tour of America.
The crowd is raring to go, the venue is full to the brim. No pit to shoot photos from here! The Glass Animals team have transformed Village Underground into a tropical escape with huge prop palm trees and brightly coloured lights flooding the stage.
The band are greeted by screams and cheers as they kick off the night with Tokyo Drifting, the latest release from Glass Animals since their album How To Be A Human Being. The band – comprised of Dave Bayley on guitar and lead vocals, Drew Macfarline sporting keys and adding backing vocals, Ed Erwin-Singer on bass and keys, and drummer Joe Seaward – take to the stage overshadowed by their huge tropical trees and swamped in bright green light.
Next up is Life Itself, first song from their second album How To Be A Human Being. They follow it with the more upbeat vibes of Black Mambo. The crowd show their appreciation and prove how much the foursome have been missed. Their tour in 2018 was cancelled due to an unexpected car crash leaving sticksman Joe Seaward with a broken leg and a brain injury. Two years later they’re back and better than ever!
Hazey, Poplar St. and The Other Side Of Paradise have the crowd ecstatic, with Dave Bayley more than happy for his audience to join in on vocals. Glass Animals pause but only because “we want to play some new shit” then treat us all with a new song soon to be released “maybe this week” Bayley teased. Tangerine is the title and we are swamped in orange haze and light as the band give us an idea of what to expect from their next album. Following the new music we welcome the very familiar opining bars of Gooey, the band’s most popular song on Spotify with over 150 million streams. Frontman Bayley sneaks to the back of the crowd to kick this one off, making sure everyone in this tight warehouse venue receives a good experience of their tropical, psychedelic music.
One new song would be enough to keep the crowd happy, but Dave Bayley offers us the chance to hear another; this time entitled Your Love (Deja Vu). If you need something to look forward to, it’s certainly the next album from these tropical, synth masters. Bayley explains that this gig is special to him as “I only live down the road” and that “I’m excited to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight!”.
Following the new material, Bayley reminds the crowd that the band “feel good to be back” and the four return to some familiar music in the form of sophomore album cuts Cane Shuga, Season 2 Episode 3, Youth and possibly the fans favourite from the night judging by the chorus and shouts, Agnes, to finish off a brilliant set.
The band thank the audience for showing their support and leave the stage with the last few bars of Agnes on loop. But the crowd aren’t done yet, it’s been two years after all. Chants of “one more song” begin and sure enough, Glass Animals return. They aren’t quite ready to leave yet either it seems.
The encore consists of a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s pop-anthem Crazy and Glass Animals’ most famous lyrical beat Pork Soda. If you’ve ever wondered why Reading and Leeds festival have banned pineapples completely from the weekend, it’s down to these guys and their fans taking the lyric “pineapples are in my head” far too literally! That didn’t stop Bayley though, he brought along his own to throw to the crowd for this bona fide banger.
And they’re gone. For good this time, but leaving the collective appetite of their growing fan base whet for a return visit tomorrow night and bigger and better things further down the line.
Next in line for these four boys is a trip across the Atlantic to tour the US and of course the release of their next much anticipated third album. If your vibes sit somewhere between indie rock, trip hop and psychedelic pop then Glass Animals are the band for you.
Live review & photography of Glass Animals at the Village Underground on 17th February 2020 by Ciaran Frederick.