Live Review: Glass Animals // Alexandra Palace, 19.11.21

Glass Animals - Dreamland tour colour 3 (c) DFR - @dfrvisuals on IG 2021

Two years after releasing their comeback single ‘Tokyo Drifting’, Glass Animals played a triumphant tour of their home country in promotion of Dreamland, their most successful album yet. At London’s Alexandra Palace, the Dreamland Tour promised the perfect ingredients for a Friday night out.

Opening act Biig Piig brought the fun with her genre-hopping bilingual funk music, and proved a worthy warmup for the evening’s headlining act, with her final song ‘Feels Right’ an ode to the party that was well-received. Between the acts, a mock-up old computer screen was displayed on the stage, and in the final half an hour, began downloading files in an amusingly slow manner, hinting at the vaporwave aesthetics of Dreamland.

As Glass Animals took the stage, the palm trees and signs on stage became lit with neon lights, and the screen behind them played various vaporwave videos for each song, combining consumerist and psychedelic imagery. The band opened with ‘Life Itself’, the first track of How to Be a Human Being. Its tropical dance-rock groove unravelled into overpowering bass and synths over the course of the song, while singer Dave Bayley increasingly grew frenzied on the stage. This was the story of the rest of the concert, keeping the crowd moving to Bayley’s magnetic performance.

Glass Animals’ combination of trap beats, catchy melodies, and colourful visuals made for an entertaining time. The new Dreamland songs proved to be just as enjoyable as on the record; highlights included the absurd singalong on ‘Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth’ of “big dick and big old titties on the sly”, the club-ready beat drop on ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast’, and most of all, the pulsating build-up of ‘It’s All So Incredibly Loud’ that culminated in Bayley screaming the song’s final lines. However, the best reception was reserved for the band’s older tracks, with the audience shouting along to every word of ‘The Other Side of Paradise’ and getting lost in the sleazy psychedelic rock of ‘Take A Slice’.

The band returned for an encore of ‘Tokyo Drifting’, driving the crowd wild with its hip-hop beat, and ‘Heat Waves’, a song that shot up the charts during the pandemic, racking up nearly a billion Spotify streams. Sometimes, bands aren’t quite able to replicate the quality of their records when playing live; Glass Animals are the opposite, multiplying the energy of their songs tenfold. With songs like ‘Agnes’ missing from the setlist, the concert leaves no room for introspection. For those who have only heard ‘Heat Waves’, expect a set equal parts zany and bombastic, complete with pineapples and peanut butter, but for the Glass Animals fans, you don’t need me to tell you that they’re unmissable.

Words by Stephen Ong

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