A show review of Glass Animals at Rebel Toronto by of one of our Toronto members, Katrina Lat, who detailed her experience seeing the show through Jukely. 

Written by: Katrina Lat

Photo by: Neil Van

On Sunday, Glass Animals visited Rebel Toronto (formally known as Sound Academy) in support of their sophomore album, How To Be A Human Being. Fortunately for this Jukely pass holder, tickets for the well sought after show were available for subscribers.

Opening with the first two singles (and opening two tracks) – “Life Itself” and “Youth” – off the album, the band launched right into their imaginative and genre bending tunes. A double arch of lights framed the stage, and decorative cacti taken from the album’s artwork adorned the sides. In typical Glass Animals fashion, a pineapple sat atop one of the stage monitors.

The band fashions a unique blend of indie rock tinged with elements borrowed from multiple genres – the imaginative frenzy of psychedelic pop, the hypnotic rhythms of trip hop, the smooth and sultry vocals of R&B – all wrapped up in a surprisingly accessible, digestible, and incredibly danceable package. The room was a collection of swaying bodies throughout the evening, with a variation of dance moves as eclectic as the genres Glass Animals represents – gyrating hips, head-banging, salsa, fist-bumping, and even an especially dedicated concertgoer who decided to try his hand at pole dancing (much to security’s dismay).

Latest single “Act 2 Episode 3” announced its presence with its bubbly 8-bit intro, reminiscent of old school video games, while “Poplar Street” commenced with Red Hot Chilis Peppers-esque guitar work.

My personal highlight of the evening was “Other Side of Paradise”, whose longing and urgent chorus was perfectly emphasized by pulsating lights synchronized in time with the down beat. The crowd was absolutely mesmerized by the performance – even though the magic was momentarily broken when frontman and vocalist, Dave Bayley, forgot a portion of the lyrics. “It happens, it happens” he apologized sheepishly, as we all laughed it off and resumed our trance. Glass Animals’ lyrics are so dense, verbose (and frankly at times nonsensical) that we couldn’t help but forgive the charismatic frontman.

Bayley was bursting with energy throughout the entire set. Armed at times with a tambourine, guitar, or just a microphone, he swayed along to the music with odd dance moves that completely matched the vibes of the music. He was an absolutely engaging presence throughout, whether completely immersed in the music, bouncing around the stage, or coming down into the crowd, as he did during the second verse of “Gooey”. A talented and unique vocalist, Bayley’s sultry vocals were showcased during the quieter and less frantic first verse of “Cocoa Hooves”.

For their final song before the encore, the band unleashed their secret weapon – a large disco ball that lit up the room during the infectiously exuberant “Pools”. They reprised their set for an encore consisting of their stylized cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” – during which Bayley performed from within the crowd – and “Pork Soda”, whose lyric “pineapples are in my head” allude to their favourite fruit, and mascot, which also served as a percussion instrument for Bayley.

Glass Animals are an absolute joy to witness live. Their tunes are infectiously danceable, lyrics are weirdly cerebral, and the diverse genres they channel create a sound that is novel and absolutely mesmerizing.

This was a joy of a performance to witness live, and I’m so glad Jukely got me through the door!