Show Review: Glass Animals at Massey Hall, October 2, 2017

By: Mena Fouda

When I first listened to Glass Animals a couple of years ago, I was thoroughly freaked out. The music video that I watched was a stop-motion of generally strange clay objects, doing generally strange things, with some generally strange music in the background. I was so confused—is this electronic? Is this some sort of pop music? What was this? I never imagined that a few years later, I would be dancing, unrestricted, to all fifteen songs on their set-list at Massey Hall.

In case the Mercury Prize-nominated band hasn’t crossed your radar, here’s what you need to know. They’re a four piece indie band straight from Oxford. With only two albums out in the realm of music (2014’s Zaba and last year’s How to Be a Human Being), they consistently manage to blend genres together. Some describe their sound as psychedelic, with others arguing that it’s more of an alternative rock.

The excitement was palpable throughout the cramped venue. Every time a stranger bumped into my knees, trying to squeeze past into their seats, it was like a jolt of electricity: we were all so ready for some good vibes. The stage was set up in a tropical theme—palm trees framed each side, and a gigantic pineapple disco bar was the centre piece. When the lights finally dimmed, it was hard to hear any intro music, with the roar of excited screams and shouts completely drowning everything out.

The show itself was highly energetic, as they started with lead single “Life Itself” off of their newest album. It was clear that the band wasn’t trying to start off slow and build up, but were there to make a bold statement from the get-go: let’s vibe together. I’ve never seen an entire venue of people, what was clearly a diverse demographic,

 all dance together with so little boundaries.

Dressed in a simple baseball jacket, lead singer Dave was the face of the band. The crowd adored him, and the love was very much reciprocated. At one point of the show, I glanced down at my phone. When I looked back up, Dave had abandoned the stage and was making his way through the ground. He then began climbing on the backs of chairs, and a few seconds later, he was crooning out the lyrics to “Season 2 Episode 3” right in front of me.

I’ve never been momentarily paralyzed before, but I imagine that’s what it feels like.

To say that the band sounds exactly like their recordings would be an understatement. They brought palpable theatrical elements to the stage that actually enhanced each song—such as Dave growling out some of the passionate lyrics (be still, my heart). At one point, a pineapple was introduced to the stage, with band members using it to drum upon (which must have really hurt), and then eventually throwing it into the crowd. Their lighting was very mood-dependant. A single white light shone when it was time to play “Agnes”, one of their most emotional and cathartic songs, making it seem as if we were getting a private look into the inner turmoil and pain of the song’s narrator. The 

lights also reflected the unique beats and rhythms of each song, alluding to a complicated and very well-rehearsed lighting design.

So, all in all, it’s totally justified why various parts of my body were aching the next day, and why my voice was completely gone. Glass Animals were unrestricted in their performance, making it clear that their unique sounds could get just about anyone to dance all night long.

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