Glass Animals – J2, Cambridge – Monday, April 28


Glass Animals have managed to make my dancing style sexy. Really sexy.

Their first gig in Cambridge has been a while coming after being rescheduled last month as frontman Dave found himself hospitalised just before their UK tour kicked off. But, after “being force fed enough soup to drown a yak” he’s back on his feet and the boys have found time to visit the ‘bridge before running off to the States once more.

Bounding onto the stage with toddler-on-sugar ferocity, opener ‘Black Mambo’ is a sure crowd pleaser, before they settle into a more mellow tone with original singles ‘Psylla’ and ‘Exxus’. Despite the chilled vibe, and strange intimacy of the set, Dave’s dancing doesn’t let up. It’s sexy. Very sexy. In the only way that white-boy dancing can be. And I feel an odd affinity with it which can only be taken as a sign that I should let go and join the swaying mass as stand-out single ‘Gooey’ begins to play.

Their sound is beefed up for the live show: added guitars and bass seem to fill in the gaps that give the album a more relaxed feel. The similarities with Alt-J really smack you in the face hearing the record live – even the most music-iliterate would be far pushed to not make the connections. It adds to the intricate mad world that Dave creates with his stories of moles, snakes and a ‘pooh-bear’ who just wants those ‘peanut butter vibes’. Flitting between soft falsetto and chants which you cannot fail to follow, he puts in a solid vocal performance which is equally matched by bandmates Drew, Ed and Joe.

Bringing the fast-paced hour set to a close with a cover of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ and another favourite from their debut, ‘Pools’, Glass Animals slink off stage almost as quickly as they arrived. Admittedly they could work on their crowd interaction: aside from the traditional thank-yous and queries as to whether we’re having a good time – at one point I swear we lock eyes when he asks this, sending me into a catcall frenzy – there wasn’t much chat to be had. Something which would certainly have been adored, judging by the number of hazy-eyed twenty-somethings in the crowd.

I almost buy a t-shirt on the way out, but my lack of cash prevents me; a safety feature I implemented after impulse spending too much on tour stash has left me with a chest-of-drawers full of band memorabilia… but I can’t help but feel the collection would have been a whole lot better with a new addition. Thankfully enough gigs have taught me to hang around and nab a setlist from the stage, so, list in hand, it was time for the walk back to town for a night of dreams of Dave’s swaying and the summer to come.