From School Yard Boys to Music Connoisseurs, Glass Animals Continue to Turn Heads at Artpark

British indie rock icons Glass Animals started off their Dreamland North America tour right in Buffalo. With a sold-out show at Artpark on August 30, this band completely steam rolled the crowd. Getting to this level of success was nothing short of hard work and dedication. 

Photo Credit: Maddie McCafferty

How It Started

Glass Animals members Dave Bayley (lead singer), Edmund Irwin-Singer (bass), Drew MacFarlane (guitar) and Joe Seaward (drums) met each other at age 13 in school. They began making music as a side hobby in 2010 and released their debut album ZABA four years later. This release accelerated their careers significantly, especially due to the viral hit “Gooey.” 

After touring globally and appearing on several popular night shows, the band began developing their second album. As a singer, songwriter, and producer, front man Dave Bayley wanted to stray away from standard lyricism. Instead of writing about himself, Bayley sought to tell the stories of people he met on the road. And that’s how the How To Be A Human Being album was curated.   

Photo Credit: Maddie McCafferty

Creating Their Dreamland

These musicians built a community by celebrating the ability to be unique and different. Bayley felt this openness with his fans and decided to finally write material that was personal to him. The band faced a significant hardship as Seaward got into a horrific accident. This caused the group to have to reset as the drummer went through rehabilitation. It wasn’t until years later that they made their comeback with multiple singles and further on released their most ambitious album yet: Dreamland

The 2020 autobiographical album was the most personal and raw material of theirs to date. Unsure of the outcomes of the future, Bayley spent time looking at his past. Dreamland is about growing up and learning to be vulnerable even in the strangest of times. The band looks to challenge conformity and embrace the inevitable uncertainties of life. In hopes of capturing the essence of getting older, Bayley chose to add audio from old home movies. He layered audio from his Mom’s videos between the songs as interludes to provide a narration aspect. 

Photo Credit: Maddie McCafferty

Dreamland is nostalgic, funky, and very intricate. So many elements of this album are detailed in such a meticulous way that often go unnoticed. From creating a table of contents in the intro song to paying homage to Bayley’s favorite artist to alluding to album features on their website through games, everything was thought through. Basically, nothing went untuned when it came to producing this masterpiece. Glass Animals had to transform their at home production talent to an onstage experience after many years away, and let’s just say they did not miss a beat. 

From Quarantine to Tour

The stage at Artpark was an immersive experience no matter where in the crowd you were located. The stage set-up felt like you were in a dream or rather submerged in Bayley’s head. A desktop computer image was loading in the background as the stage was filled with peculiar materials like a diving board, basketball hoop, neon signs, and even palm trees. Seeing all this made the packed crowd pumped up. It also helped that opening artist binki kept the funk alive. The indie musician filled the venue with groovy tunes and also performed magic tricks.  

Photo Credit: Maddie McCafferty

When Glass Animals hit the stage, the screams echoed throughout Artpark. The band has undeniable infectious energy that had everyone up and dancing. They opened the show with the beloved single “Dreamland” which set the mood for the night. After that, not a single person sat down.

The hypnotic beats mesh effortlessly with Bayley’s delicate vocals. In addition, the rippling guitars and background psychedelic imagery was entrancing. The liveliness of the audience was incomparable as the band had to stop playing multiple times just to listen to everyone cheer. Being back to live shows never felt so good. They continued throughout the night playing hits off of all three of their albums including “Hazey,” “Pork Soda,” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”      

The energy shared from Glass Animals and the crowd made one huge epic dance party. No one wanted the night to end as multiple encores were cheered for. They closed the set with the streaming hit “Heat Waves” which did not disappoint. The song resonates with many as it deals with the struggle of identity and confronting one’s true emotions. Beyond that though, the beat and tempo in this is what makes it even more popular among fans. The night ended as an image of a desktop computer read, “It’s now safe to turn off your computer. Thank you, Lewiston.” There was no room for anything but feelings of awe as everyone left the venue.  

Photo Credit: Maddie McCafferty

Future Outlooks

If there was a “plain-Jane” section in the record store then Glass Animals’ discography would be located on the complete other side. Wait no scratch that, they would be located in their own area outside the store. Their sound is unmatched. From the use of rainforest audio, to obscure lyrics which always includes some kind of food, to mixing genres in innovative ways, this band cannot be contained. It’s only up from here and with all the growing momentum, the sky is the limit for Glass Animals. 

Make sure to check out upcoming shows at Artpark. GOV’T Mule performs on September 7 and Phoebe Bridgers has a show on September 15. 

Setlist: Dreamland, Life Itself, Tangerine, Black Mambo, Hot Sugar, Hazey, The Other Side of Paradise, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cane Shuga, It’s All SO Incredibly Loud, Your Love (Déjà Vu), Take A Slice, Gooey, Youth, Pork Soda 

Encore: Tokyo Drifting, Heat Waves 

All Photos by Maddie McCafferty

Alternative/IndieArtparkbuffaloGlass Animalsindie rockpsychedelic pop