Review By: Caitlin Bahrey
It’s 82.4 degrees in Central Park. People are sweating and impatiently standing under direct summer sunlight as the stage equipment is set up. Many move towards the back to be less packed in. And so it goes with free outdoor concerts.
Suddenly a blast of smoke billows into the air followed by a soundtrack of intense jungle sounds; an immediate indicator that Glass Animals are about to take the stage. Paired with an array of dark purple and blue lights, everything suddenly feels cooler. The crowd erupts in cheers and everyone starts dancing. Holding alcohol instead of water doesn’t feel like the wrong decision anymore.
The musicians command the stage with the same sexy and silky charm that’s present in their recorded album. Lead singer Dave Bayley’s passionate and almost spastic body movements strike a refreshing contrast with the peanut buttery smoothness of his voice. After their first song, he looks up and says a quaint, “Cheers, guys,” which makes the crowd roar. The adoration for this band is clear as three girls dressed in hooded animal onesies climb onto their friends’ backs to get the band’s attention. They do get it before being pulled down by security, and the interruption doesn’t stop a completely sweaty elation from radiating on each of their faces.
The Oxford band plays most, if not all of the songs off their debut album, ZABA, with an appropriate jam session tacked onto one of their more recently released singles, “Gooey.” But the performance doesn’t stop with straight tracks from their album; at some point they bring on Rome Fortune, Atlanta-based rapper, as a surprise guest to perform a rework of their single “Hazey.” Fortune pumps the crowd up nicely making people dance even harder than they did before.
Next, they deliver a brilliant cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, “Gold Lion,” prefacing it as an homage to one of New York City’s greatest bands of all time with a kick-ass female lead singer. The vibe within the crowd is buzzing. Someone next to me can’t find his friends, but the sudden isolation doesn’t stop him from dancing and singing along with strangers in comradery. Everyone appears to be very chilled and happy as blow-up animals and huge bouncy balls get thrown high into the air.
For their encore the band plays a smooth and almost bluesy cover of Kanye West’s, “Love Lockdown” and finish the night off strong with the last of their singles, “Pools,” a track that many in the audience hoped they would play. All in all, the show is one hour and twenty minutes of a job well done. Glass Animals create an effortlessly smooth vibe in their live performance that sticks with you long after you leave their set. I leave with an immediate desire to find out when I can see them next and highly recommend that you do the same.
Caitlin Bahrey is Co-Founder & Executive Editor of Outcryer Media’s Journal, an “independent arts and culture website with a twin focus on creative and critical voices.” Visit them for unique and thoughtful pieces on creative writing, visual arts, and music.