Glass Animals virtual concert is a success

Following the release of their third studio album Dreamland, four-man indie-rock band Glass Animals performed a live stream concert in mid-October. The four members are: lead singer Dave Bayley, drummer Joe Seaward, Drew MacFarlane on guitar and Edmund Irwin-Singer on bass. Along with many other artists trying to navigate how to interact with their fans in the midst of a pandemic, the group planned a livestream concert to compensate for their time spent away from the stage. 

The stream, titled “Live in the Internet,” which they so cleverly dubbed “Streamland,” included over an hour of musical performance, unique audiovisuals and even guest artists on the set. “Live in the Internet” was their biggest headline show to date as fans worldwide could purchase tickets and view the stream. 

It was easy to feel the band’s energy through the screen –– it was as if they were playing in front of a live audience.

“We’re going to try to use the power of the internet to get something you can’t get during a show, trying to create a few different worlds that span our records,” Bayley said. And that they did. The band played songs from all three of their albums: Zaba, How to Be a Human Being and Dreamland. It was easy to feel the band’s energy through the screen –– it was as if they were playing in front of a live audience. 

An interesting aspect of this show in particular was that there was a “live chat” going on throughout the show. Although it was often too fast to even read, it kind of simulated the conversations that you may hear during an actual concert, when hundreds of people are pressed shoulder-to-shoulder chatting before, during and after the performance.

The stage setup was fairly complex and featured several different elements that captured each aesthetic from the several albums and songs. The band played on a platform made of screens that changed depending on the song. There was even a virtual swimming pool; Bayley sang the song “Hot Sugar” while laying on an inflatable floatie. There were lights and a funky rainforest setup around the stage, as well as a pineapple disco ball and a rack of clothes. 

It feels like the state where you’re half asleep, recounting memories that seem like dreams.

The show opened with the title track from Dreamland, which features dreamy instrumentals with a slow synth riff and heavy, intense strings. It feels like the state where you’re half asleep, recounting memories that seem like dreams. One of the most memorable parts of live shows in general is when you hear the singers’ voices for the first time. Bayley sounded just like he does in his songs –– his voice is breathy and ethereal –– he and his band truly are live performers. 

Glass Animals invited Arlo Parks, another rising British artist, onstage for a never-before heard rendition of the song “Tangerine.” The song is fun and poppy –– the perfect summertime song. Though behind the sound the song is bittersweet and nostalgic; Bayley yearns for a version of a person who he once knew, but they have since changed with the passing of time. Although this person may have changed, there is always a small part of them that remains unchanged; in this case, it is the way the light sits on their eyes. 

The performance also featured Denzel Curry in the song “Tokyo Drifting,” a fast paced hip-hop-esque track in which Bayley adopts a completely different persona. The song is meant to be ironic, in which this extreme alter-ego of Bayley’s flaunts his lavish lifestyle of expensive cars and jewelry, parties and drugs. Rather than Curry physically coming on stage, he “zoomed in” to the performance and sang on another computer screen. It was like a computer-ception. 

Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties with the streaming platform, and the entire stream momentarily went down. Soon enough though, the stream was up and running again and in order to compromise, the streaming service offered viewers the opportunity to view the stream as much as they please in the future. Instead of paying for a single stream, fans receive unlimited streams. The chat feature was also disabled as it was causing lag, but it was fun while it lasted. 

Although it is nearly impossible to simulate what it is like to be at a live show without actually being there, Glass Animals did a fantastic job utilizing available technology and working to create both a musical and artistic performance. They proved that while in a virtual performance space, fans can still get the essence of a live experience.