Reviewed onWednesday January 25
Sydney locals Polographia kicked things off for the night with their blend of ’90s nostalgia and synth. If you haven’t heard of them yet this summer, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. Seeing ‘Feels Alright’ alone was worth the price of entry. They had no problem mesmerising an almost-full Enmore Theatre, and no doubt they’ll be back as headliners soon enough.
The backdrop onstage looked simple enough at first. It was a banner with the words ‘Glass Animals’ in strange Nintendo-like graphics. As the show progressed, it started to morph rapidly with the lights – one minute it was a normal poster, the next a flashing blue sign. In other words, it had many dimensions.
It was a fitting motif for the tour behind Glass Animals’ latest album, How To Be A Human Being. During the writing process, they decided to embody 11 different fictional characters, whom they hired actors to play on the album cover and in corresponding video clips. This was an even more ambitious effort than on their debut, Zaba – Dave Bayley seems to understand that in being specific, his lyrics can be universal, and that has led to one of the best full-length releases of its era.
Of course, it helps to have a lead like Bayley, who happily leapt, spun and fell to his knees from the first note to the last. Joe Seaward, Drew MacFarlane and Edmund Irwin-Singeralso maintained an infectious enthusiasm that the crowd threw right back at them from the front row to the seats at the back. Then there were the strange details – the kick drum painted as a watermelon and pineapple sitting onstage – that were reminders of the inherent weirdness of Glass Animals’ brand of hip-hop-saturated indie rock. Codeine Coca-Cola in a song about a freckled boy living with his mum? These are strange pineapple-y times indeed.
The set struck a great balance between old and new material. Songs like ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Pools’ still feel current over two years later. But their new material was the highlight of the evening, with ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Youth’ inspiring the crowd to jump, stamp the ground and sing along.
Bayley introduced ‘Agnes’ as his favourite track, and it was easy to see why: live, the melancholic keys intro played as the venue was soaked in blue light, giving it an otherworldly feel. It was the perfect embodiment of where Glass Animals have taken their sound: simple, specific yet still strange.