Peanut butter vibes were abundant on Thursday evening as Oxford’s premier indie quartet, Glass Animals, entertained a sold out crowd at The Midland Theater. 3,000 people crammed into the room for an ambient evening of groovy indie-pop, preceded by a group of Spanish garage rockers.
Madrid’s Hinds warmed the crowd up wonderfully. Success has come swiftly to the all-female quartet, who sang upbeat garage rock while garbed in 90’s clothing with genuine smiles plastered on their faces. Hinds offered very little in terms of innovation, but were a fun opener. Vocalist Carlotta Cosials’s shrill croon was washed out in the large venue and ended up sounded more like a melodic yodel. The headbob-worthy guitar lines and cheeky harmonies more than made up for that.
After a 30 minute wait, Glass Animals emerged on stage shrouded by smoke, lights, and waves of jungle sounds. It was a fitting entrance for an aptly named band, and set the mood for the experience that was about to take place. Over the next 70 minutes, Dave Bayley pranced around the stage. His intense movement didn’t hinder his vocal quality, and the level of precision between the recordings and live product were impressive.
In an age where “real” instruments are becoming less than normal, it was refreshing to see the guitarist and bassist being engaged in the show by also playing synthesizers and controlling the accompaniment tracks when the guitars were not needed. They were obviously having as much fun as Bayley through a parade of colors and smoke that perfectly melded to the mood of each song.
Obviously, the highlights of the evening were crowd-favorites “Gooey” and “Black Mamba,” but the band unexpectedly covered Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and “Gold Lime” by Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. By covering both RnB and indie, Glass Animals solidified themselves as one of the most impressive genre-melding acts at this time.
It was a nearly perfect evening in a room full of so much energy. At multiple points Bayley told the crowd that Kansas City was his “home away from home,” and while that may have been merely a nicety, he performed like it was the truth.