By Jacob Chamberlain
A big, sparkly pineapple. Hanging from the ceiling. Like a disco ball. A disco pineapple, if you will. That’s what greeted fans of indie band Glass Animals at their Saint Patrick’s Day show in the LCR. And it was a shining beacon of what was to come.
On a dreary Spring day in the middle of Norfolk, Glass Animals manage to recreate the heat and colour of the Caribbean, and that’s not just through their stage design (although the giant cacti and Joe Seaward’s watermelon patterned drum kit certainly help). The rapid spoken words of set opener ‘[Premade Sandwiches]’ fade out and give way to the powerful drums of the epic ‘Life Itself’. Before the guitar even kicks in, the band have everyone entranced. The beauty of a Glass Animals show is that they make it really difficult to not dance (of course, it helps that everyone is full of… let’s call it the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day). Singer Dave Bayley leads the dancing himself, waving his arms and strutting up and down the stage. “She said I look fat” he sings. “But I look fantastic” the crowd sings back. And they feel fantastic, too.
Though it is the band’s first time performing in Norwich, their sheer charisma and charm makes it seem like they’ve been to the LCR hundreds of times. The tour is in support of the band’s second release, How To Be A Human Being, so the set mostly consists of new songs. Tracks from the first album Zaba continue to sound fresh, from the soft vocals of ‘Gooey’ to the exotic beats of ‘Pools’, but the newer ones seemed to be received better on account of their danceability. The melodies of songs like ‘Cane Shuga’ are irresistible thanks to guitarist/keyboardist Drew MacFarlane and bassist/keyboardist Edmund Irwin-Singer, who help keep the atmosphere buzzing like a rainforest. The sleazy riff and guitar solo of ‘Take A Slice’ combined with the drumming of Joe Seaward proves that, though Glass Animals are mainly an indie-electronic band, they possess the capability to create rock songs. The highlight of the night is ‘Youth’, a song with a nostalgic chorus so massive that it draws everyone in.
After a brief pause before the encore they come back onstage, though it appears as if they’ve just come back from holiday with Bayley donning a flower necklace and a pair of pineapple shaped sunglasses (I’m sensing a theme here). Closing song ‘Pork Soda’ is another highlight of the night, with its funky chorus and extended instrumental that’s not present on the studio version.
It’s unfortunate that the gig falls on a night where the LCR is needed straight after, because at times it seems like the band is trying to hurry up and just get all of the songs done, leaving practically no time for audience interaction between songs at all. Before ten o’clock the set is finished, and the pineapple is coming down. Hopefully it won’t be long before it’s back up.
Photo courtesy of Nia Williams