Glass Animals didn’t hold back for their performance at Shrine Auditorium Thursday (Sept. 21) in Los Angeles. The British indie-rock band, currently on tour in support of their sophomore album, How to Be a Human Being, made the Expo Hall stage their home as they played a mix of both old and new songs for their dedicated fans.
In the venue, two palm trees flanked the stage, and a flashy pineapple hung above frontman Dave Bayley, in an ode to the band’s zany lyrics “Pineapples are in my head,” from their latest album’s “Pork Soda.” Their wonky second album explores a different character in each song, narrating the life of a codeine-addicted loner who lives with his mom, to that of a mayonnaise-eating stoner.
In light of the album’s various stories, the stage bore a different color with each new song, bathed in red for “Mama’s Gun,” and yellow for “Youth.” The bright neon lights filled the venue throughout the night, which along with the intense beats of their music, transformed a typical concert into a carefree party — whether you were in the mosh pit up front, or seated in the second-tier nose-bleeders.
The band began the set with the distinct and catchy melody of “Life Itself” off of How to Be a Human Being before jumping into “Black Mambo” from their debut album, Zaba. Guitarists Drew MacFarlane and Edmund Irwin-Singer, along with Bayley, showed off impressive guitar riffs in “Paradise.” But the band stole the audience’s undivided attention with the melodic gospel-like harmonies of “Toes,” off of Zaba.
What makes Glass Animals’ concerts so uniquely effective, though, are the way each member excitedly jams out to their own songs, like a high school band rocking out in their family’s basement. With their quirky and un-choreographed, yet perfect, dance moves, there’s no question that they’re exactly where they want to be. This excitement was undeniable in their performance of “Take a Slice,” as Bayley playfully took shots at the audience with his guitar and spit out his water in dramatic fashion.
The beloved frontman even ventured into the crowd on a raised platform for “Gooey,” before jumping into his personal favorite, “Agnes.” “This next one is my favorite,” Bayley said before singing the emotional first verse. Single spotlights on each member highlighted the intense vulnerability of the song, which they’ve described as their most personal.
“Thank you guys so much, you guys are incredible. Cheers!” Bayley yelled to the crowd before the stage went dark and the band filed out. But after a few minutes of “Encore” chants from the audience, the band was back. “Can we do a couple more?” Bayley asked the excited audience. “We have something special for you guys.”
The band finished out the show with an innovative version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and their own “Pork Soda.” Young and full of energy, there’s no question that Glass Animals and their compelling music have a lot more in store for us.