After a repetitive, uninspired performance from support act ‘Roosevelt’, in which the backing band played the same song for forty-five minutes whilst Roosevelt himself twisted knobs on a sequencer and sang the same unimaginative lyric over and over, Glass Animals take to the stage like a breath of fresh air.
The Oxonian four piece are met by rapturous applause. Framed by ten feet cacti and with enough smoke pumped onstage to get all the asthmatics in the building worried, the band certainly look the part. Vocalist and guitarist Dave Baley is one of the more exciting frontmen I’ve seen for a while, his infectious energy being absorbed by the crowd and spat right back at him.
The music is really good. It’s indie dance without too many of the clichés or tropes that usually come with that oversaturated genre. They’re stylistically broad. Songs range from the catchy, clappy ‘Pork Soda’ to the R&B influenced ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ complete with Vaporwave style retro samples. Drew MacFarlane and Edmund Irwin-Singer (the latter of whom looks like an extra tall Alex James) switch between keyboards, midi pads, guitar and bass throughout the set, which, along with Joe Seaward’s drumming, providing an ever changing timbre to Glass Animals’ sound.
The light show is also excellent. Sudden contrasts between colour changing strobes and pitch blackness accentuate the music excellently. This is especially true during an extended performance of the slightly melodramatic ‘The Other Side of Paradise’, an uncomfortably Imagine Dragons-esque number which, although not their best song, is one of the best performances.
The very active Baley had a habit of roaming around stage with his microphone, trailing its lead everywhere and spinning a web of wires around mic stands and lights like a spider with a haircut. At several moments roadies had to duck across stage in order to release him from the tangles he found himself in. On one occasion they were too late, a light got dragged off stage and had to be replaced by one of the O2 bouncers. The band didn’t let this distract them from their playing but it was quite funny to watch.
So, the stage presence was good, the music was tight and original, the light show was excellent and the ongoing mic wire drama was very amusing, yet, about 45 minutes into the band's 75 minute set I found myself distinctly, and inexplicably bored. I don’t know what it was. I really thought I was having a good time up until this point. I thought this was going to be a glowing review. However, unfortunately, I find myself having to conclude that despite doing everything right, Glass animals just couldn’t hold my attention.
Article: Daniel Brashaw