I stand behind a girl whose denim jacket is emblazoned with a sole GLASS ANIMALS badge on the back, and who can blame her. The Glass Animals popularity has sky rocketed with a summer of festival appearances from Glastonbury to Bestival under their belt and the September release of sophomore album How To Be A Human Being, a guide of sorts to meandering the weirdness of this 21st century.
First up is PIXX, floating us into the evening with their spiraling, ambient melodies that let you drift back into a gentle sway, perfectly summed up on Grip which does as the title suggests and grabs the attention of a settling crowd. For a first time listener the ability of their sound allows me to focus on Hannah Rodgers’ echoing voice which produces lyrics of a self-reflective nature with songs such as Fall In, which takes you to dreams of the past… you can tell it comes from real experience. With their mashed blend of high-pitched vocals, catchy drum beats and cut-up electronic tones they are the perfect fit to support Glass Animals with music that is fun yet meaningful, melancholy but uplifting.
Bringing the winter warmth, Glass Animals kick off with the bubbly and bouncing Youth, instantly engaging the crowd with funny friends in tow who are fuzzy on a bit more than caffeine. It’s easy to see how Oxford quartet have gone from strength to strength: by shining a light on themes that speak to the youth of today, they also create threads that are common to us all. With lines like “I can’t get a job so I live with my mum” in Life Itself, it’s no wonder they draw fans from all walks of life. They are the fairytale many of us dream of, making a life through creative means. It’s incredible to think Dave Bayley nearly gave up music to pursue a career in medicine.
Energy and Glass Animal’s gigs have become synonymous and tonight is no different, with their cyclical drum beats that are layered on top of smooth tones and falling samples that grow throughout every song. Their collection of popular tracks has grown massively with the latest album but that doesn’t mean they don’t treat us to sing-a-longs from 2014’s ZABA with Hazey and Black Mambo – they have created a celebration of the issues that many of us deal with and how they shape us.