by Sarah Rohleder —
Never have I been to a show at Headliner’s Music Hall where the balcony was open to guests, but on Monday night, Glass Animals held the house down with their pineapples and Peanut Butter Vibes, selling so many tickets that even the balcony was tightly packed. Based on the “GLASS ANIMALS – SOLD OUT” signs and the fire marshal’s mandated capacity of somewhere around 650 persons in the building, I can only surmise there were at least 600 people in the room.
Since their Coachella debut, the Animals have downright blown up in the indie/alt music scene. Their freshman album, “Zaba,” made its first appearance just over a year ago, but they’ve been selling out their tour since the start of summer. When I went to their first Louisville show back in December, the hall filled only halfway and I was able to score a 40-minute interview with frontman Dave Bayley and artist Drew MacFarlane. To reference their new-found fame: Monday night, I had to nearly beg for a photo pass, accept a 15-minute phone interview and shove my way through the crowd. And this time, concert attendees other than myself actually knew the words to their songs. *Cue “Started From the Bottom, Now We Here.”
Fans–AKA, the self-proclaimed Peanut Butter Tribe, after the lyric “you just wanna know those peanut butter vibes” from their first single, “Gooey”–stood in the 95-degree weather outside Headliner’s for an hour before doors opened, vying for a stage-front spot. After waiting another hour and a half for the opener, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, the lights went down and fans secured spots.
Brooklyn-native Garzón-Montano crooned some sweet songs while playing the keyboard, accompanied by a drummer my friend and I initially mistook for The Weeknd. “Glass Animals reached out to me do a remix for them last year, and I did one for ‘Hazey,’ and then in April, I opened for them on the West Coast,” Garzón-Montano said. “I really love what I do. I play all the instruments and I sing all the parts. It’s a labor of love.”
Dave Bayley hid in the dark doorway by the stage, glancing around the room while Garzón-Montano played. I covertly pointed him out to my friend, and he gave my a solid glance that made me think he may have actually remembered me. After all, we did talk for 40 minutes and I was standing in the exact same spot I stood in December. But I considered that thought wishful thinking.
Around 9:30 p.m., Glass Animals entered the stage to a roar of screaming fans. Bayley greeted the crowd, which then erupted in excitement, and the Animals began to play.
In typical Dave Bayley fashion, he kicked off his shoes and made himself right at home onstage, dancing in a fluid frenzy. Drew MacFarlane got into his groove on the keyboard, and I found myself intently focused on the perfection of his jawline, watching him play three feet in front of me. Bayley often receives all the love, as the band’s very obvious frontman, so I shouted for MacFarlane until I knew he heard me loud and clear.
Their transformative songs brought me into the jungle-y state they intend listeners to feel with their music. I had to contain my desire to sway with the songs while I clicked the camera shutter, in order to get photos that were remotely in-focus. Listening to their energizing, synthesized beats without moving my hips was simply impossible, especially while watching Bayley move his. The girl next to me was really feeling the vibes. She came all the way from Nashville, alone, to catch their show. She swung hair long, jet-black hair around and flopped onto the stage. “For a Monday night, you all really know how to get down,” Bayley shouted.
Their Monday show felt more experienced than the last. They turned a concert into a performance, this time. “Our first time, we hadn’t played many live shows, but now we know how to have fun up there,” Bayley said, during our pre-show phone interview. “We’ve got some new songs, new covers, new decorations.”
As I mentioned in December, Glass Animals have a deep affection for pineapples, so I wore a tee shirt adorned with a giant, sequined pineapple, and it did not go unnoticed. During a break in the set list, I yelled to Bayley, “Dave, do you like my shirt?” He promptly grabbed the microphone, paused, pointed at me and responded “cool shirt,” in his swoon-provoking English accent.
As they walked off the stage after a thrilling–and sweaty–performance, I reached out to them for high-fives. They each grabbed my hand and flashed smiles my way. At that point, I really was convinced they actually remembered me.
Bayley, MacFarlane, Irwin-Singer and Seaward exited through the side door and disappeared behind security guards while the crowd shouted, “encore, encore!” I could faintly see the boys catching a breather and re-hydrating through the door, with animated smiles across their faces. We awaited their imminent return to the stage. In a few short minutes, they reentered the room and hit the stage with a cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown.”
Out of nowhere, Bayley jumped off the stage and into the crowd, microphone in-hand, and his fans exploded into commotion. He sang the rest of the song on the floor, where he directed the majority of the crowd’s attention, while his band mates danced around on the stage and laughed like the old pals they are inside and outside the tour. They closed out with the bass-bumping “Pools” and told us goodnight.
As they exited the stage, I asked Bayley for the guitar pick he had just dropped, but he didn’t hear me around the overwhelming crowd. Then, unexpectedly, MacFarlane turned around, grabbed the guitar pick off the ground, and intently placed it in my outstretched hand. Somehow, I managed to receive their one and only individual compliment over the microphone and their one and only handed-out guitar pick.
Once again, Glass Animals altered Louisville into their own personal jungle for a night.
Click on any photo below to see a full-size gallery of all images from the show.