On Thursday night I finally attended my first ever concert – indie outfit Glass Animals at the O2 Academy in Brixton. The band, whose hits include Hazey, Gooey, Agnes and Pork Soda, delivered a show that will be remembered for a long time.
The venue, which has a capacity of little under 5,000, was packed in the stands, with the sloping floor allowing everybody a good view of the stage. The gig kicked off with support band Roosevelt, whose brand of synth-pop helped get the crowd up on their feet in anticipation of the main event.
After a short wait, the lights went down and the smoke machine began. To the sound of short, spoken-word track Premade Sandwiches, the band appeared. Life Itself, the opening track from their latest album How To Be A Human Being, was the first song on the setlist. Singer Dave Bayley’s woozy vocals were accompanied by thousands of fans singing along. He was as energetic as ever onstage, jumping about and getting the crowd fired up.
Two tracks from their debut record, ZABA, then followed, with Black Mambo and fan favourite Hazey setting the tone for the rest of the evening. Poplar St was next, with the amazing bass guitar riff eliciting numerous cheers from the crowd. The drumming of Joe Seaward went through your entire body like an earthquake, and it was never more apparent than during The Other Side Of Paradise. The lighting was fantastic, an array of colours bursting from the stage throughout the concert.
Season 2 Episode 3, the song that has it’s own mobile video game and music that could easily be taken out of a Super Mario soundtrack, was next on the list, soon followed by Toes, a track from ZABA that sounds as if it was recorded in the Amazon rainforest. Then came Take A Slice, one of my personal favourites from the new album, and Cane Shuga. The latter has a repeated chorus as the main part of the song so was perfect for the whole crowd to yell out at the top of their voices. Youth, sung from the point of view of a mother separated from her child, came next to whoops from the audience, who were energetic without being rowdy.
My favourite song of the evening was Gooey, in which Dave Bayley decided to get into the crowd to tell a tale of ‘peanut butter vibes’. When he returned to the stage, he decided that the best place to perform Agnes would be on top of Joe’s drumkit. The emotional track, which Bayley announced as his favourite record, was a fantastic way to end the concert, and they went offstage after finishing it.
Most of the audience probably lost their voices at this point, with a cacophony of noise rising from the stands, all willing the band to return for an encore. They did exactly that, playing jungly tune Pools and following it up with Pork Soda, whose lyrics “Pineapples are in my head; Got nobody ’cause I’m brain-dead” were the reason for the giant pineapple shaped chandelier that was present during the gig and cast out rays of light in every direction.
Glass Animals gave a show that cements their growing reputation as an indie band you have to see, and it was certainly a very impressive performance for my first concert.