Glass Animals w/ Mackintosh Braun
It’s Day Three of our 7DOC, and for our second December to Remember adventure, we returned to Crystal Ballroom to see four lads from Oxford, England, Glass Animals, drop their gooey, jungle vibes. But first, I took a short trip to Portland’s Music Millenium record store to see… Glass Animals.
The guys played a short in-store set, then held a quick meet-and-greet and signing. For the first time seeing them, stripped-down and acoustic, it raised my hopes for the night’s full show. Leading man Dave Bayley has a voice like smooth butter and silk, and you can hear it in the recorded tracks alone. Live, it gives you chills.
A few hours later, we were inside Crystal Ballroom and preparing for the real deal. First up was local opener, Mackintosh Braun.
I have to be honest with you. I don’t really remember much of the opener. It wasn’t really a standout set, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I remember enjoying the set, but it just wasn’t too memorable for me.
Mackintosh Braun is an electro-pop duo consisting of Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun, son of long time Hall & Oates drummer, Michael Braun. On record, they sparkle with the glossy electronic sound I adore. Live, their energy just wasn’t there for me. However, maybe with a crowd for them, they can feed off the energy and bring a memorable performance. I’d be interested to return and find out.
Though after all, I was there for one thing. Glass Animals.
Glass Animals have one of this years best albums, and that’s no understatement. Zaba may quite possibly be 2014’s most overlooked and best record from a rising new band. It’s an amazing piece of work. It’s an album where you don’t skip any tracks. You just sit and listen to it. And you fucking enjoy it.
The first thing that stood out to me about Glass Animals at the Crystal was their stage setup. The brought trees. Like, actual trees. Palm trees and other jungle looking vegetation lined the stage, with a giant banner, “GLASS ANIMALS”, in the background. It was such a cool thing to see, and went so well with their vibe.
If I thought that they sounded good at the record shop, I sure didn’t know how good they really could be. With all the synth and the polished production, the full entity of their sound booming into us all, it blew me away.
And, for the Crystal Ballroom being their biggest played venue to date, they handled it so well! Bayley owned the entire space, and all of us, in his performance. The sound hit you like a wave, and you could practically hear the jungle birds in the air.
“Gooey” was a blast to witness live, as it was that one song that everyone knew, so everyone was singing along as loud as they could. Just as “Thunder Clatter” and “Weekend” were some of this years biggest songs, so was “Gooey”.
My personal favorite track on Zaba, “Flip”, was unreal live. The cut out of sounds, before dropping everything they had, hit you like a brick. It’s one of my favorite things in production, and the whole crowd felt it.
Probably the best part of the whole night was part one of the encore. It was a cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown”, and it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. Glass Animals first did this particular cover for triple j, and after laying the whole thing down and owning it, the DJ’s asked how they came up with the idea of it’s sound, and the amazing vocal samples they used within it. They replied modestly, explaining it was just a quick job, messing around on their laptop.
Only Glass Animals could just slap together a cover of this quality. Live, the whole crowd was having it. Bayley was reaching toward us, moving around the stage like a jungle cat. It was such a fun thing to see, and I would give anything to see it again.
(If the rumors are true… May…)
Tomorrow, we’ll be dropping our fourth 7DOC article, a review of tUnE-yArDs’ stint at the Roseland. Stay tuned…