Supported by yet another female singer songwriter underscored by a synthesizer, namely Atom Tree, there was little build for much talked about Oxford band, Glass Animals. Atom Tree, are reminiscent of bands like Samaris and others that include electronic beats somewhat hidden by a female vocalist; albeit in this case disappointingly lacking in charisma or indeed stage presence. Catching the tail end of this support act are failing to hook the crowd into their performance with many distracted, conversing and purchasing lagers, Atom Tree seemed to only touch upon the need to encourage fans for the headlining act.
A sold out gig, high expectations were raised but soon dismissed, unfortunately. Glass Animals took to the stage amidst a diverse crowd, populated mainly by Edinburgh’s students, many of whom clearly like the sound of their own voices. One stood near me excitedly took his ‘phone out to take a flash photo of the band as they hit the stage, allowing his flash to go off, swiftly followed by an apology. It would be too easy to mistake this for courtesy but judging by his and several others’ behaviour in the crowd it was too obvious that the room was filled with the obnoxious, which made enjoyment of this band’s performance almost impossible. As they play their first track a girl behind me shouts “so dirty” arrogantly trying to catch the attention of the band or the crowd, at least. The band themselves outrageously exclaim that it is their first time playing in Edinburgh, which of course gets them the grunts, screams and heckles they are seeking, this sets the precedence for a gig that promised more than it could deliver, unexpectedly let down by its fans.
Hailing from Oxford, Glass Animals are a young band, debuting their album Zaba in June last year. With much love over the water from Australia and the USA, they are clearly a band that are getting more exposure and support outwith their hometown.
A band that’s surprisingly reminiscent of Maroon 5, with clear hip hop influences which are fused with indie guitar riffs, I am well placed, observing a band attempting the quirks and kitsch to manoeuvre themselves away from American pop. However, painfully amongst an army of conversationalists, many within the audience drag them back to this pop/ rock sound. The band attempt to win the crowd with glitter, novel face painting and flamboyant gestures. A crowd that prefers to create their own noise: conversations and exclamatory screams, the singer did well to get much of a reaction from this audience. Of course many sang along with the band to their more popular tracks. But by this point any interest was lost as was my vision through the haze that was created during their current single ‘Hazey’. One thing that was still however visible was the G and A from the lead singer’s attempt at plugging his own merchandise. His attempt to plug his own gear however was just as successful as his attempt to engage with his music, I thought, I leave empty-handed with no inclination to ever see this band or crowd perform again.
Photo by David Grant Simpson