Live Review Glass Animals, Village Underground, London 17th February 2020
2020 finds the four-piece in regenerated spirits.
Spirits are high ahead of Glass Animals’ first round of comeback shows. Not only has electrifying new single ‘Tokyo Drifting’ featuring Denzel Curry primed their fans for new music, it’s also a celebratory return following a freak accident involving the group’s drummer, Joe Seaward. In July 2018, Joe was hit by a truck while on his bike in Dublin. He miraculously survived the crash despite having to learn to ‘walk, talk and read again’ in the intervening years. By some miracle, he’s back to drumming 18 months later.
The accident placed Glass Animals at something of a standstill - four years have now passed since the release of their Mercury-nominated LP ‘How To Be A Human Being’ but now work seems to be well underway on its follow up. “This is extra special because I only live down the road,” singer Dave Bayley says at one point. “It’s where we’re recording the next album…maybe this week.”
‘Tokyo Drifting’, tonight’s opener, is the first glimpse of what the group has in store for LP3. The track, which finds Dave adopting a rapper’s cadence around a frantic sample, is greeted instantly like an old favourite particularly as it culminates in a finale punctuated by stabs of brass. ‘Life Itself’ quickly follows with its blissful chorus in tow setting the audience alight with an atmosphere you’d typically find at a Friday evening festival set, not a frosty February night gig in London. It’s immediately clear these boys have been sorely missed by their fanbase.
Dave’s contorting figure casts a wild silhouette as the group unleash ‘Hazey’ and ‘The Other Side Of Paradise’ - he even pops up at the back of the crowd under the shade of a palm tree to sing the cool, infectious bars of ‘Gooey’. Later, two new songs are debuted to a rapturous reception - ‘Tangerine’ builds atop a smooth, shifting chord sequence, while ‘Your Love (Déjà Vu)’ shimmies around a chirruping medieval synth line.
The performance continues to emit a tangible energy as the four-piece rattle through ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, ‘Youth’ and a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’. It feels as if this short run of shows is the euphoric release of band and fans alike after years of being cooped up in the shadows. The decision to put Glass Animals on hold while Joe recovered really shows an internal respect for the group’s musical bond which has only strengthened in this comeback.
“It’s incredible to be playing again, see you soon,” Dave beams sounding a little overwhelmed before closing with the psych-surrealism of ‘Pork Soda’. 2020 finds the four-piece in regenerated spirits and judging by the sheer quality of their new songs, it seems like Glass Animals are onto something very special indeed.
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