The Oxford electro-rock outfit of Glass Animals has quickly become one of our favorite finds of 2014. Their album ZABA is easily one of the best this year and they have much more on the way. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to catch one of their two sold-out nights in LA earlier this month. With an individual sound all their own, we knew their performance would definitely be unique…but performing inside of a Masonic Lodge on the grounds of LA’s most legendary cemetery? Very rare.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place of some of the most important figures in music, film and television – George Harrison, Douglas Fairbanks, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, etc. Nestled into a particularly dark corner of this cemetery is the Masonic Lodge–an original, Spanish-style lodge that has been refurbished into an intimate, breathtaking venue. The room is hollow and hardwood with high ceilings and crisscrossing rafters. The colorful chandeliers and illuminated stars hanging down low gave a distinct Hogwarts vibe. It was absolutely magical.
This show was sold-out months ahead of time (they had to add a second show, which also sold out). The crowd was there with purpose – either avid fans thirsty for as much as they can get or industry types scoping out this hot new commodity (recognizable behavior: a bit more reserved, calm and judgmental demeanor, his girlfriend is looking at Instagram). Either way, we were all genuinely excited to bear witness. Could these guys live up to their flaw-free studio sound?
A balanced blend of Alt-J’s sonic power, the dark whimsy of MGMT and a lyrical prowess all their own, Glass Animals have been developing their style and sound together since they were 14 years old. Trippy guys from the UK have made some of the best music in recent years and these guys are primed to join that group. The sound is individual and memorable: psychedelic & funky, technical, and sophisticated.
The venue is trés intimate, as they took the stage they were just right there. It was a lot of fun. The foursome cruised through most of their brilliant album ‘ZABA’ – gaining confidence, momentum and stage presence as the show went on. When they dropped into “Walla Walla”, the crowd had finally given up their cool enough to boogey down right. “Flip” and “Hazey” showed the band’s more sensual side – slow, tribal grooves that allowed the guys to trip-out the jam a little bit.
Our favorite moments came towards the end of the show. “Gooey” elicited wild cries from the crowd with the first arpeggio alone. This weird, playful anthem is kinda sexy and kinda silly at the same time. The phrase “you just wanna know about those peanut butter vibes…” suddenly seems so sexual to me.
Without question the best moment of the show came when the band announced they were about to cover Kanye’s “Love Lockdown”. It was one of those live cover moments that you realllllly expect to fail – how could this work?! But somehow, it’s absolutely brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, they are going to record it and release it on their upcoming Pools EP due at the end of July. Watch a performance of it here and decide for yourself.
The ambiance of this night was a character all it’s own. Looming over the band was a huge white wall being bathed in rich washes of light and color. Nothing too fancy, but less is more with smaller venues. It set the mood but didn’t distract from the music. Against the wall stood a row of tall, ornate masonic thrones dancing in the light. It is one of the most unique and enchanting settings I’ve ever been at. You almost forgot there were thousands of dead people buried outside.
Glass Animals are spreading like a damn wildfire and they are eating it up – they’ve announced a new EP coming out as well as a massive new tour schedule for the fall. They are eager and ready for your love—go out there and give it to them!
9/06 St. Louis, MO – Loufest at Forest Park
9/07 St. Louis, MO – Loufest at Forest Park
9/08 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
9/10 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
9/12 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
9/13 Burlington, VT – Signal Kitchen
9/15 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
9/18 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
9/19 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
9/21 Cincinnati, OH – Taft Ballroom
9/23 Omaha, NE – Slowdown
9/25 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
9/26 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
9/27 Boise, ID – Neurolux
9/29 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
9/30 Seattle, WA – Neumos
10/01 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
10/03 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
10/04 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
10/5 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour