Live Review: Glass Animals – 170 Russell, Melbourne (06.07.16)

This week, Glass Animals returned to Australia with a live show that had been so highly anticipated, all shows on their quick east coast run sold out impressively well in record time. Since Australian crowds first fell under the spell of their grooves and eclectic and exotic interpolation of beats and rhythm at the Falls Festival in 2014, Glass Animals have become quite the hot commodity on the global touring circuit.

With debut album Zaba firmly establishing the Oxford four piece as not just your run of the mill indie pop band, Glass Animals went on to broaden the horizons of their already experimental musicality in creating what’s become their new album, How to Be A Human Being (out in August). When they hooked up with fellow Falls Festival alum Joey Bada$$ on “Lose Control”, it was a collaboration that intrigued, but once we heard it, it made perfect sense. And then recently, when Glass Animals released “Life Itself”, with its almost tribal percussion, mixed in with the swagger of Dave Bayley‘s vocal, it was hard not to ignore this more big-picture direction the band was headed in – it was almost cinematic in delivery.

Opening their second show at 170 Russell in Melbourne (the first-announced show on the tour) on a rainy Wednesday night, the crowd was instantly up in arms as soon as the opening notes of “Life Itself” thumped their way out from the stage. Bayley, donned in an excellent colourful bomber jacket, threw himself into the show from the onset and we knew from there, we were in for a ride and a half.


Having spent some time with Bayley and drummer Joe Seaward earlier that morning, they had admitted these Australian shows were the first for the band in a little while and some they were excitedly nervous for. Figuring out how to play the new material, much bigger in sound composition, live has been a process but one – as we saw – that has been paying off brilliantly.

Of course, Zaba was given prime time in the spotlight and between watching the crowd sing chorus upon chorus back at the band, who were sinking into each rhythm being doled out on bass and drums in particular, and watching Bayley jump down into the front row, I realised how much Glass Animals’ debut album has kept giving over the last two years. There were a few months there where I couldn’t listen to it any more, purely because I’d thrashing “Hazy” and “Gooey” a stupid amount of times. During this show though, my love for the album was definitely reignited.

Along with “Life Itself”, we were treated to new song “Youth” and “Season 2 Episode 3”, both tunes being received positively. Other set highlights showed themselves in “Walla Walla”, “Black Mambo” and the main set closer, “Toes”, though when Glass Animals returned for their encore, it wasn’t long before Bayley had hopped the crowd barrier to work his way up onto a block near the back of the dance floor.

Rolling out their groove-heavy cover of Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” before returning to the stage for a final tune in “Pools”, Glass Animals had us thinking we were only getting started. If this is the calibre of show they’re rolling out now and this is ahead of the release of album #2, we can only think of how the new live shows post-release of How to Be a Human Being will fare.


Life Itself
Walla Walla
Season 2 Episode 3
Black Mambo
Gold Lime


Love Lockdown (Kanye West cover)

Photos: Rebecca Houlden.


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