Freshly soaked and muddied from their roaring Glastonbury 2016 slot, these four Oxford chaps have embarked on a tight little tour of Australia, bringing their groove, funk, electro-indie-pop mash-up to a very excitable young crowd at 170 Russell. It was an evening of throwing crazy shapes, thumbling mobile phones and girls with big crushers yearning for the attention of lead singers Dave Bayley.
Ever since the release of the band’s highly acclaimed debut album Zaba, cleverly produced by the youthfully talented Dave Bayley, the band have created a complete stir amongst the millennials around the world with a Spotify search lists their biggest single “Gooey” hitting over 55 million listens, their other tracks nicely collecting over 10 million each. It helps to explain why tonight, on their second sold out show in Melbourne, the crowd were ready to party and “cut some rug”.
With the sudden hit of a certain “happy tobaccy” wafting through the air, bellowing like orchestrated puffs of smoke from the front of the crowd, the four unlikely young men quietly shuffled from stage right, set against the sounds of sampled gobbledygook playing through the PA. Glass Animals opened the night with their new single “Life Itself” the rhythmic section of the band proving immediately this is their strength, the crowd are instantly thrown into a frenzy while Bayley commences his own beat driven shapes on stage, that will continue throughout their set. Lyrically, Bayley sings of the everyday and the observed, much of it resonating with the audience who would barely tip their early 20s. It’s a complete crowd pleaser, phones rise into the air while fingers fumble for the focus or find the now prefered, video setting. In our heads we repeat the words “Hurry up Apple and release your technology to have the rest of us enjoy the music”.
Third song “Hazey” brings another huge raw from the crowd as some of them climb on the shoulders of friends and punch the air with jubilation, yet another crowd pleaser, at which point the band quickly settle in knowing that they are performing to a capacity crowd who are quite happily singing along to every word. It excites Bayley no end, and while the band contain their composure through the entire set, preferring to deliver musically, Bayley plays the perfect front person, stirring the crowd.
With their sophomore album set to for delivery end of August, Glass Animals test run 2 new tracks in their set list, the first, an eclectic composition similar to Grizzly Bear, it meets with a modest reception, the crowd just want to hear what they know, but good on the band for giving it a crack. Their second attempt of playing a new track, is a hit, and a hit it will be and quite easily the best track of the night, it sounds full and perhaps shows a sign of the band moving into a slightly more brash sound. A fantastic new song that will no doubt become the next single.
“Gold Lime” has the band covering moments of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Gold Lion” and like much of the band’s music is a mash-up of lazy beats, quirky samples and Bayley’s unmistakable falsetto, almost rap style of singing.
Within 50 minutes, the band declare the gig complete and walk off stage with the stomping of feet and a chant of “one more song” screamed from the young mouths while reconnecting with their phones having been apart from them for a few songs. Of course the band respond and run back on stage, appearing almost overwhelmed, the crowd are loud and 50 minutes just didn’t cut it.
Bayley runs into the crowd and takes position on one of the bench tables to sing out a Kayne West Cover “Love Lockdown” delivered in his unique, very geeky rap style of vocal arrangement. Its, well, interesting. The crowd love it and respond with yet more fans on the shoulders of other fans. Its fun to watch from the sidelines. Closing out with “Pools”, the crowd get the final fix of glitch samples and programmed beats, the crowd adore these Oxford middle-class chaps and with their new album not far away, this is a band who will just get bigger and bigger, unless of course the audience gets distracted by their phones.