Glass Animals headlined Manchester’s Gorilla tonight as part of their almost totally sold out UK tour. After the well-received release of debut album, Zaba, this isn’t a great surprise. To support tonight is Tropics, or Chris Ward to his friends. Ward suits Tropics by name and by nature, his cool persona – along with his synth-orientated music – smoothly transports you to an imaginary holiday on a deserted island. Relaxed, cool and chilled – intricate melodies and a lightly tapped cymbal perfectly combine as one. The room is already half full when Tropics begins and is almost totally full by the end of his short set. Unfortunately, Tropics’ mood lighting and his drummer’s funky solos don’t seem to do much for the crowd, who irritatingly chatter as Tropics fails to engage them. Luckily, a large portion of the room appreciated Tropics’ exciting new sound.
Glass Animals soon appear – four sweet guys, lanky and excited to play another sold out show. The band emit a contagious enthusiasm that simply can’t be ignored. The whole show is a superb mix of slow ambience and mystery, and then fast and repetitive upbeat melodies with more dancing than I could even comprehend, let alone reciprocate. They begin with ‘Black Mambo’ – a sparse intro that’s melody reminds me of Dr Dre (don’t ask me why) then into ‘Intruxx’, an instrumental with even more of the mental.
Frontman Dave Bayley dances as though it’s the last thing he’ll ever do. Funky moves reminiscent of Ed Macfarlane free the crowd of their insecurities as they dance the night away. The same goes for ‘Gooey’, which gets a huge cheer and party from the crowd, who sing along for the entirety (“glad you guys can sing, you’re definitely the loudest crowd so far”) which gets, if possible, an even louder cheer. Although, ‘Gooey’ took an unexpected and unpleasantly literal turn as someone threw up, causing the crowd to split like Moses and the Red Sea. Glass Animals continue with tune after tune, interjected with sweet guitar solos and immense drums, blowing me away every time.
After tumultuous applause and banging feet, Glass Animals return for a short, but unforgettable encore. The band’s Pools EP included a cover of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ and the band treat us to a live version. Tribal vocals and heavy bass, this rework of Kanye’s classic is interpretive and distinct, unlike any cover version I’ve heard before and I love it. Glass Animals thrive in a live atmosphere, the crowd go literally wild and Bayley is sincerely appreciative (“thanks a lot for dancing”) as he wipes his sweaty brow. A final showstopper comes in the form of ‘Pools’ – one of the standout tunes from Zaba – the energy and excitement is insurmountable, I can’t wait to see Glass Animals again, come back next week?