They were back again at the O2 Academy this weekend, as part of a UK tour following the summer release of second album How to Be a Human Being.
Glass Animals hit the ground running, blasting straight into the woozily insistent Life Itself – lilting irresistibly somewhere between Hot Chip‘s Over And Over and the more manic pop moments on Yeasayer‘s Odd Blood – before a flurry of singles – Pools, Black Mambo, Youth, Hazey – keep the momentum going.
There is a good balance between tunes from the new record and others on their first release Zaba, underlining the strength and depth of both, but the biggest reaction of the night is unquestionably reserved for Gooey.
Frontman Dave Bayley puts down the guitar and crowns into the crowd – “Alright, come close/Let me show you everything I know” – as the stage is bathed in blue and a sea of camera phones come out to record his confessions and the blissful bubbles of music behind them.
It’s impressive how much of a personal imprint the band manage to impress on every song, while at the same time toying with several different genres and putting a thoroughly modern twist on them. The tracks anchored with hip-hop stylings carry superbly live, not least the almighty swagger of Season 2 Episode 3.
They sign off with their now traditional encore cover of Kanye West‘s Love Lockdown, which Bayley delivers with breathy dexterity as he forays into the audience, before a clapathon finale with the madness of fan favourite Pork Soda.
The bottom deck of the Academy was unsurprisingly a total sellout for this one, with a throbbing mass gathered down the front nice and early, poised to slather themselves in the peanut butter vibes.
— Pixx (@PixxMusic) October 28, 2016
When the place fills up to capacity, there can be a dearth of decent specs to get a proper eyeful of the act given the narrowness of the room and relatively low stage. A diminutive member of the crowd near to us took a snap of the pillar and sweaty backs she was wedged in behind, perhaps to ping out on social media with the most harumphing emoji face possible. Couldn’t blame her if she did.
But you certainly couldn’t argue with the sound down there which was crystal clear from everywhere we stood. Maybe it’s best to play it like the bloke who was at the rear bar and clearly having a great time; plenty of space to boogie, barely able to complete an order before spinning round to sing along to another tune.
Anyway: Glass Animals fans needn’t worry. Next time they come to Liverpool, surely a gig upstairs at the O2 awaits given the full house and feverish reception they received – and the assured, unique and raucous set they delivered.
Photos by Getintothis’ Phil Greenhalgh.