Glass Animals Vogue Theatre, Vancouver BC, May 25
Published May 26, 2015Inverted gold cones trailing lengths of wispy fabric to the stage hung amid the jungle hoopla of bird chatter and what one can only assume was the boisterous splashing of water on fronds at Vancouver's Vogue Theatre last night. This backdrop set the stage for Oxfordshire's Glass Animals, who entered with no hesitation and dropped right into a slightly sped up version of "Black Mambo," off their debut album, Zaba.
Frontman Dave Bayley has definite charisma, performing in a way that complements the music, rather than a spectacle to accompany the performance — he's very Thom Yorke-esque at times. He hopped onto drummer Joe Seaward's raised platform stage left to perform a little pop and shake; in contrast, the three remaining members of the band appeared as static fixtures for the first half of the show, almost as if uncomfortable with such exposure.
The lithe, resonant opening notes of "Gooey" flitted across the crowd, sending unrelenting cheers and shouts across the venue and causing an unrestrained laugh to slip from Bayley as he dropped the name of the song the entire house knew well. You could feel the anticipation of the crowd, waiting in blissful agony to lend their voices to the oft-quoted, merchandise-stamped lyrics "(You just wanna know those) peanut butter vibes" — made that much more palpable on the second refrain when Bayley jumped into the crowd for some help.
Finally, midway through their set, as Bayley dropped to his knees at the front of the stage during "Walla Walla," guitarist/keyboardist Drew MacFarlane and bassist/keyboardist Edmund Irwin-Singer found their footing and converged on drummer Seaward to add to his immense, rolling fills. Single "Hazey" had a much more upbeat output than its album-recorded counterpart, though it slowly slid into a comparable rendition rife with drum pad and sharp clacking rim hits. What the song lost in sensuality compared to the original, it more than made up for in entertainment value as MacFarlane launched into a guitar solo that Bayley jovially danced to, tambourine in hand. The group displayed remarkable camaraderie with one another, at times all leaving their posts (aside from Seaward) to converge and play together.
Their encore was as much of a surprise as it was a delight — Bayley and company took the stage once more and announced the next track was by… Kanye West. And they nailed it. Their rendition of "Love Lockdown" was sensual and funk-laden, and upped tenfold when Bayley crowdsurfed while delivering the first verse. The wooing continued as he slinked across the front barriers to finish out the song. The band ended on a high note with "Pools," leaving the Vancouver crowd energized and in awe.