Glass Animals, the four member band from Oxford, England have come to Montreal once before… you might remember the rainiest day of Osheaga, Friday August 4th. They attempted to play “Life Itself” but couldn’t because their synthesisers were water damaged. Settling on playing “Gooey” and “Pork Soda” because they only had a few minutes left in their set, they gave the most wild and energized show that day. I HAD to see them when they came to Montreal again.
Starting the night out strong, Amber Mark gave an amazing performance. With absorbing sounds and chilling vocals, everyone cheered. I couldn’t put my finger on what genre her music was, but I had to find out.
Amber has been exposed to so many different cultures and styles of music by living in so many places. She’s been inspired by Berlin’s house/techno, New York City’s hip-hop and R&B, Brazil’s Bossa Nova rhythms, India’s sounds and Nepal with its Tibetan mantras. With such a rich cultural background and an open mind it’s no wonder each song on her EP “3:33am” is so unique but tied together with her ode to her mother whose passing made Amber channel her grief into this EP. Everyone that night felt the emotion in her beautiful voice, and joined in on the dancing. She dedicated her last song “Way Back” to “anyone who’s ever overcome something” saying she knows she has, and she knows “you’ll get through it too”.
Glass Animals’ stage set was two tall palm trees, with a giant-and I mean giant-pineapple disco ball. They walked on to the song “Premade Sandwiches” and began with “Life Itself” which was inspired by old sci-fi films, hence the strange sounds and Lollywood music (music from Pakistani films) hence the drums. Playing a mix from the older “Zaba” album and the newer “How To Be A Human Being”, everyone was pleased with the song choices. In an interview Dave Bayley, vocalist/guitarist, mentioned that “The Other Side Of Paradise” had been his favorite track on the record musically. With bizarre chords and a very fun beat, we could tell he loved this song as he jumped around a lot to this one. For “Season 2 Episode 3”, Dave got on top of an old school TV, that was also part of their set. The song was inspired by cartoons old and new, for sounds and lyrics: “she’s drunk on old cartoons, liquid tv afternoons”.
The heavy bass of “Toes” had everyone on their feet. While Dave, overwhelmed by the thunderous applause and cheers after the song, sat for a moment, surprised by how crazy the crowd was even on a Tuesday night. Dave’s intensity and energy carried through the entire show and during “Take a Slice” he almost tore apart his shirt. In between songs he was jumping around in excitement. Never a dull moment.
“Cane Shuga” was the only song on the album that didn’t start with lyrics, he wrote stream of consciousness through a vocoder, so the chorus seems like nonsense. He says when we speak what seems like gibberish, it can be quite revealing. Marley, one of the friends I was with said the light show particularly for “Cane Shuga” brought the performance to life. “The stage would get very dark and flash colors and bring out the intense atmosphere of the track… the lighting made it easy to get lost in the song.”
During “Gooey” Dave went into the crowd to sing most of the song, just like at Osheaga. “Agnes” is one of the saddest songs that Dave said he wrote and the perfect way to end the main set. Everyone sang along with emotion “you’re gone but you’re on my mind, I’m lost but I don’t know why”. No doubt, everyone had at some time felt the same.
The encore was welcomed with a great roar and the Montreal classic “ole ole” chant. They played a cover of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, with their unique Glass Animals spin on the song. They ended the night with “Pork Soda” bringing out the fresh pineapple tapping it to the sound of the drums singing “pineapples are in my head” and then Dave proceeds to throw it into the crowd. Someone got an entire pineapple as their concert souvenir. What a great way to end the night.
I’m very happy Glass Animals got the chance to play their whole set this time in Montreal, and it was so worth it and I hope the next time I see Amber Mark it’s her own headlining show. I think I’m craving pineapples now…
Review – Breanna Wark
Photos – Arianne Bergeron