One of this year’s hottest bands is UK electronic rockers Glass Animals. The Oxford, England based four piece just released their sophomore album “How to Be a Human Being” in August and are currently touring across the US in support of it. The album peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 charts and led the band to a feature performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier in September. On Friday night, Glass Animals rolled into Boston on a cold, rainy evening for the year’s second to last outdoor show at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.
First onstage was fellow UK act, Pumarosa, the band had difficulties making it to Boston, as a result their set began almost 15 minutes late and would prove to last only 4 songs in length. However, even with the deck stacked against them, they manage to win over the crowd with a sound comparable to London rockers, Wolf Alice. And lead by frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome who plays guitar in addition to singer, Pumarosa played an ambient, experimental blend of indie rock bordering on grunge, which even featured Munoz-Newsome playing guitar with a percussion mallet. Their set included the band’s latest single, “Honey” which is a slow, infectious, guitar rooted anthem that gripped the audience and had fans going to their phones to look the band up.
Conversely following their set, hip hop artist D.R.A.M. took the stage, joined by a hype man/DJ behind him, he too had only a brief set, which seemed to resonate with less than half the crowd. While his set wasn’t unbearable, it definitely wasn’t memorable. On it’s own account the music and stage performance from D.R.A.M. was solid and would probably have been better received at the same venue the night before when Chance the Rapper was playing, however paired with Glass Animals and Pumarosa it didn’t feel like a natural fit.
Just after 9:30 Glass Animals took to the stage with little fanfare. Walking out to the spoken word interlude “Premade Sandwiches” on a stage decorate by pineapples and cacti, Dave Bayley and company gave a simple wave to the crowd and jumped right in, opening with “Life Itself” the lead single from “How to Be a Human Being.” The remainder of the set would be spent alternating mostly between singles from their two albums. “Gooey” and “Pools” both drew enthusiastic reactions from the crowd, while every individual song seemed to inspire the inner drunk dancer in everyone. For most of the night the crowd was loose and so was the band, jamming and enjoying themselves on stage and eating up every minute of the adulation from the Boston audience.
Glass Animals’ relationship with Boston is a strong one, frontman Dave Bayley told the crowd the show was their largest headline gig to date. It’s easy to see why Boston loves Glass Animals so much, it’s a college town that loves it’s music and Glass Animals plays a brand of experimental, funky, electronic rock with strong guitar influence, that really hits home with the college-aged fans. Right now, Glass Animals are one of those bands that are hot, and getting hotter with each show they play. As I’ve said numerous times before, recorded music can only take you so far, to compete with the chart-toppers, you also need a strong live performance; Glass Animals posses that and then some.