In Leeds Beckett University Union, on the third date of Glass Animals’ UK March tour, the crowd wait patiently, immersed in an orange glow. The empty stage is decorated with cacti and a pineapple. Blue lights start to flash in the dark as the unintelligible, distorted speech of ‘[Premade Sandwhiches]’ floods through the speakers. As the 36 second opener comes to its abrupt end, the hazy orange lights return alongside the whimsical opening notes of first album track and single, ‘Life Itself’. The excitement is high in the room as tribal drums kick in and front-man Dave Bayley bounds onto the stage. As the first song ends, the band slow things down and take us back into the spooky aesthetic of ZABA, performing ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Hazey’ under green and purple lights.
Throughout their set, Glass Animals’ energy never wavers. It’s enjoyable to watch Edmund Irwin-Singer and Drew MacFarlane switch from keys to bass and guitar between songs for more riff focused tracks such as ‘Poplar St’, creating a varied and engaging set list. Glass Animals are a multi-talented band, glowing with chemistry, that clearly love and know their music inside out. Bayley’s rapport with the crowd resembles that of a conductor, captivating the audience to move in time with the bassy rhythms of the music. Highlights included ‘The Other Side of Paradise’, ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ and ‘Cane Shuga’. There was a clear development of tone from these upbeat numbers as the set neared its pre-encore end with ‘Youth’ and ‘Gooey’ under woozy low lights. ‘Agnes’ left the crowd wanting more and the room erupted as the band returned for ‘Pools’ followed by ‘Pork Soda’, in which the pineapple on the stage was launched into the audience’s eager hands.
The set struck a satisfying balance between showcasing most of the brilliant How to be a Human Being, whilst maintaining crowd favourites from ZABA. A lot of thought went into the aesthetic of the show which really elevated the performance. Glass Animals are not a band to chat much to their audience but their high energy and the chemistry between them makes up for it. The impressiveness of their musicality is what makes them a band well-worth seeing live.
By Netanya Pilikian