Glass Animals

Glass Animals at The Village, Los Angeles August 31, 2016,

Sep 12, 2016 Photography by Laura Zollars Web Exclusive
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The residents of West LA had a harder time than usual maneuvering their vehicles home during rush hour on Wednesday August 31st. Glass Animals, who released their second album, How to Be a Human Being, the week before, were participating in a Tumblr IRL event in that neighborhood's legendary The Village recording studios. The Village's Auditorium, which holds a couple hundred people provided a coveted, intimate space to experience Glass Animals. Considering the group's Los Angeles show in October is at the Greek Theater with a capacity of approximately 9,000, this exclusive performance is a special one-if you can get in. From the numbers seen inside at the RSVP only event, it seems like most, if not all did. The crowd of mainly under 30s was visibly boiling over with excitement.

The theme of these Tumblr IRL events is, as the acronym suggests, "in real life," something that Glass Animals are taking to heart on How to Be a Human Being. Even more so on this evening where concerted efforts are made to create tangible elements. The semi-fictional characters from the album cover frolicked around the famed studio's auditorium. From the whimsical fortuneteller (who had a snaking queue of fans waiting to have their fates verbalized) to the bounding Harlem Globetrotter-esque basketball player to the primarily nude shade-wearing "gentleman," everyone was completely in character both aesthetically and persona-wise. They were aided by video games attendees could join in playing, plus "Pork Soda" and pop tarts, as well the visuals, provided by Ashten "Whoopi" Winger and Mykola "Myk" Dosenko. The visual artists' focus is on the classic 8-bit and Nintendo styles of art being championed by the band at the moment. All components combined kept the crowd distracted while they waited for Glass Animals.

There was a touch of nervousness about vocalist and band principle, Dave Bayley, as the group took their customary places in a row at the edge of the stage. This dissipated faster and faster as Glass Animals switched back and forth between songs from the current album and their 2014 debut, ZABA. The styles of the two albums are noticeably different, but live, they blend together without a ripple. Bayley might have been a breakdancer in an earlier life. His semi-fluid, semi-robotic enviable dance moves made him seem double-jointed. ZABA's songs have been played hundreds of times and How to Be a Human Being's not as much, but the group's handle on them was equally strong. The success of their exceptional performance was feeding back to the Glass Animals; so much so that the happiness and relief of the stellar show was visible on Bayley's face by the end, which was quite simply beatific.

In addition to incomparable memories from the evening, attendees also walked away with limited blue vinyl pressings of How to Be a Human Being with artwork by Whoopi and Myk from Vinyl Me, Please. If you weren't fortunate to experience this evening IRL, Spotify recorded it for a Spotify Sessions, available at a date to be announced. Meanwhile, Glass Animals return to North America for live dates starting the last week of September.

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