Gig review: Glass Animals at Leeds Beckett University

Glass Animals at Leeds Beckett University. Picture: David Hodgson
Glass Animals at Leeds Beckett University. Picture: David Hodgson
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The word ‘infectious’ usually involves something to stay away from, something that needs to be kept in a solitary state, preventing it from spreading.

Glass Animals sold out Leeds Beckett University weeks ago, as they have the remainder of their UK tour in support of most recent album How to Be a Human Being. Since its release in August 2016 it’s dented both the UK and Australian charts to a significant degree. And with good reason, it’s infectious. Equally at home whether listened to sat on an Australian beach or a slightly drizzly West Yorkshire evening. It lifts both.

As if to demonstrate the manner in which it infects, the audience is from a wide demographic. Screaming and shouting student types, parents not thinking about getting back for the babysitter for a couple of hours, parents actually with their kids. Everybody is taken in by their bass leaden, swirling keyboards and insatiable sense of fun.

The concept of the album is, somewhat bizarrely, taking the listener through a video game of different characters and it’s the robotic voice of Premade Sandwiches that announces the band bounding onto stage, straight into album opener Life Itself. With its almost Bollywood drum beat, lead singer Dave Bayley is off, body popping and dancing like they should probably consider checking his guitar for a loose live wire.

Very few bands can garner the sort of crowd response that the Glass Animals did here within the first four minutes. Infectious. Impossible to watch a band clearly having more fun than most whilst blasting through their set list, the highlights of which included Youth, Gooey and Cane Shuga. Bayley sang Agnes from the top of the drum riser before the band left the stage, disappointingly so after only an hour.

It wasn’t flawless, the vocals seemed lost in the mix, the large golden pineapple disco ball unveiled on other shows wouldn’t fit on the Leeds stage leaving a rather plain backdrop, but none of those things mattered. This was out and out fun, every song from one of the most accessible albums of the year hooking you in. You wanted to dance like Bayley, you felt you needed to dance like Bayley and if there had been the space around the sold out crowd it would have been a frenzy.

They of course came back out for an encore that delivered Pools and set finale Pork Soda. In the latter song the Glass Animals have got a bona fide hit, being picked up by radio stations all over. It’s given rise to what’s become the band’s main hook from the album, the repeating lyric ‘pineapples are in my head’, the band throwing said fruit into the audience, probably in breach of some of Health and Safety law but by this point literally not one person present cared or even noticed, the infection had spread.

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