Hey everyone! Welcome back to my Fall concert review series! In this review, I’m really excited to talk about UK band Glass Animals’ October 7th show at the Riviera!

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The band only has one album out right now, titled Zaba, released just last year. Last summer, I had discovered this band when I first heard their song, “Gooey.” It immediately caught my attention because it was so catchy, in a way that other indie/electronic/pop bands usually don’t. At times it had an almost dreamlike synth tune, which then transitioned into a more upbeat tempo that make me feel like I should dance around a campfire on a beach somewhere. To get the vibe of their music, listen to “Gooey” below:

The band’s sound is tricky to put your finger on, but new listener Joel Sadiq describes it as “eclectic alt trip hop dream pop,” which I believe is pretty accurate.

Throughout the year between this summer and last, I had only heard a few more of their hits, which, along with “Gooey,” included “Black Mambo” and “Pools,” among some others. But then I heard they were coming to Lollapalooza, so I decided to check them out.

Throughout their set at Lolla, I couldn’t help but dance. Each individual song is so catchy in its own way, and the grooves settled right into my soul each time.

Needless to say, as soon as I heard they were coming back to Chicago in a few months, I was already making plans to go again.

Finally, the day, October 7th, came. I hopped on the red line and made my way up to the Riviera Theater once again.

After the opening band, Hinds, an all female band from Madrid, finished their new-wave beach rock-y set, the waiting began. And then soon enough, the lights went out, and the audience cheered.

The stage quickly covered with fog and was illuminated with eerie purple lights, silhouetting the fake palm trees, and creating an atmosphere that felt like you were in a rave in the middle of the jungle.

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As soon as they came out on stage, the energy was wild. After a musical intro, lead singer Dave Bayley exclaims “What’s up Chicago?!” and immediately busts into his tasteful, erratic dance moves and the band begins with “Walla Walla.”

Once again, it was hard to stand still during their set. Their unique sound and lively beats could probably get even the most boring person to dance a little. Not to mention, Bayley seemed to channel his inner Thom Yorke with his dance moves; they were equally as bizarre as they were energetic and exciting. It was almost contagious.

A personal favorite of mine, “Hazey,” came sooner than expected. Bayley’s silvery voice utters out the words “come back baby, don’t you cry/ don’t you drain those big blue eyes,” as the atmosphere of the song builds up around it with the help of fellow band members Drew MacFarlane on guitar and keyboard, Edmund Irwin-Singer on bass and keyboard, and Joe Seaward on drums.

Within moments of each other, the band can bring the energy down and then back up again, such as when they performed “Cocoa Hooves,” a song that starts out with an ambient sound that slowly builds up, followed later on by another hit, “Black Mambo.” Check out the music video for “Black Mambo” below:

The band is especially notorious for their epic take on popular songs. Specifically, toward the middle of the show, they covered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Gold Lion” with their own twist. But most famous of their covers is that of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” to which Bayley actually came into the audience and danced with us (and in particular, right in front of me for one moment!!!).

At long last, the show came to an end after a lively performance of “Pools.” The band thanked the crowd and promised to have new music the next time they returned and, while all grinning widely, exited the stage.

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This was one of those shows where I feel very fulfilled upon leaving. The whole train ride home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how happy I was to have finally seen them after waiting so long. And, once again, I can’t wait for their return.

Check out Glass Animals’ album, Zaba, for free on Spotify and make sure to let me know what you think by commenting and sharing!

-Sonia

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