Glass Animals delivered a memorable and visually-appealing performance on Sept. 28. By using a fascinating incorporation of colors and video game-tunes, Glass Animals successfully created an uplifting and exciting production for its fans.The band, promoting its newest album “How To Be A Human Being,” stopped in Chicago after touring the West Coast. The performance was held at Aragon Ballroom (1106 W. Lawrence Ave.), which was filled with fans from all across the city.
The opener for the night, R&B singer Amber Mark, began her show with “Regret,” the first song off her album, “3:33am.” This was an exceptional choice as an opener because of its echoing sounds and slow piano chords, which steadily introduced Mark’s tropical style to new ears. Her voice captured the audience’s attention with its rawness and clarity — the singer can reach the lowest of pitches and express her emotion with deep soul.
Although Mark managed to hold the audience’s interest with her vocals, her engagement with the crowd could have been more creative. Watching her walk from one side of the stage to the other quickly became boring, especially with a uniform set.
Within the next half hour of waiting during stage prep between artists, the audience became noticeably more congested. Glass Animals’ initials, “G.A.,” were displayed at the back of the stage in large, block letters, while a vintage, ‘80s-like TV with antennae stood off to the right of the platform. The TV was turned on, displaying cyan blue, which eventually changed colors to the beat of songs throughout the show.
The most captivating display on the stage was the band’s iconic symbol: a pineapple. A large, golden pineapple was suspended from the ceiling between the initials “G.A.” and reflected any colorful light that hit its metallic surface.
Orange lights and billows of smoke lingered across the platform as the band members stepped on stage, sporting a ‘90s wardrobe of casual tees and colorful jeans rolled up past their ankles. Their 30-second interval track “[Premade Sandwiches]” played while the crowd welcomed the band with endless cheers.
Glass Animals started the show with their first single of the newest album, “Life Itself.” It was during this song that the band exposed the incredible visual effects of their performance. The initials “G.A.” were constructed of tiles that lit up with the beats of all the songs. The colors changed sporadically, from bright orange and blue to hot pink and lime green.
A memorable part of the show was when Glass Animals executed “The Other Side of Paradise.” This song included a dramatic use of the synth-pop that composed digital sounds reminiscent of video game music. As the synth built with the pre-chorus, the “G.A.” initials flashed red, reminiscent of the pulse of a beating heart. The suspense mimicked the thrill of the lyrics, which repeated “My body’s looking wrong,” while lead singer Dave Bayley clenched his fist over his chest, grasping his shirt in exasperation. Despite the intensity of these moments, the chorus broke the tension and created a colorful scene on stage, as well as the charming video game-like melody.
As he did with “The Other Side of Paradise,” Bayley used his stage presence to convey emotions experienced in the band’s songs. During “Season Two, Episode Three” Bayley casually jumped onto the vintage TV and danced there for the majority of the song. By doing so, Bayley conveyed the lazy, feel-good emotions everyone may experience from time to time.
Glass Animals didn’t forget to play some songs off the “ZABA” album, including “Black Mambo,” “Hazey” and “Toes.” During their most notable song, “Gooey,” Bayley went into the crowd and stood on the rail to sing in unison with the audience. Some older songs from “ZABA” were altered with synth and trip-hop beats, a ‘90s musical style influenced by hip-hop and electronica. The adjustment created an uninterrupted flow between performances.
The band closed off the main part of the show with the ballad “Agnes.” The beginning of the song is reminiscent of a desolate lullaby, with piano keys that try to “twinkle” to make things seem better — but never succeed in doing so. Although “Agnes” is a sad song, it created an inspiring turn at the concert when Bayley repeated “You’re gone, but you’re on my mind. I’m lost, but I don’t know why.” The lyrics and the lullaby tune captured a vulnerable and hopeful moment for the entire audience.
For the encore, Glass Animals commented, “This one’s special,” and began singing a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” The audience enjoyed the soulful track as they danced and sang along to the classic 2000s rhythm.
Glass Animals ended the night with one of its most popular songs from sophomore album “How To Be A Human Being” called “Pork Soda.” Bayley began clapping his hands on a real pineapple to the opening of the song. As the crowd began singing “Pineapples are in my head,” Bayley tossed the pineapple into the crowd, a tradition at every concert. It was particularly amusing for the audience to watch the giant, floating pineapple at the back of the stage spin and flash lights at its fullest potential.
Glass Animals played at Lollapalooza in August, and although it was an incredible venue with more space and fans, the performance at the Aragon Ballroom was more memorable. The enclosed venue created a more intimate space between the musicians and concert-goers. Not only was the sound better sustained and received, but the visual effects were an important characteristic that the Lollapalooza performance lacked. If interested in the band’s funky and playful music, listen to the newest album “How To Be A Human Being” on Spotify or iTunes.