Glass Animals celebrated their third consecutive week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for their single “Heat Waves” by playing a sold-out show at The Factory outside of St. Louis, Missouri. The alternative band from London released their latest album Dreamland in August of 2020. While the hit single “Heat Waves” has been charting on Billboard for over a year now, it just recently reached number one and has held on tight to it ever since.
Fans lined up for hours outside of The Factory, in hopes to get to the front of the packed crowd.
As the doors opened and fans rushed in, the energy in the air was palpable. The venue filled quickly, and by the time the opener — a band called Sad Night Dynamite — took the stage, it was already well on its way to being a packed house.
Sad Night Dynamite is a hip hop duo from Somerset. Landing somewhere between the Beastie Boys and Gorillaz in terms of sound, this duo put on quite an energetic show. With funky beats (that sound like they could have been made by Dr. Dre, himself), psychedelic elements and layers of sound effects meant to give their songs a more dark and sinister tone, this group did a remarkable job at pulling some of my favorite genres together and delivering a show which was both eerily haunting and energizing at the same time.
After a short, but intense show from SND, and an extended intermission to allow time for all of the fans still waiting in line to get into the venue, it was finally time for Glass Animals to take the stage. The full house roared as frontman Dave Bayley and bandmates Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer and Drew MacFarlane took the stage. What followed was a manic ride through pop culture combined with a trip down memory lane. The band’s latest album, Dreamland, focuses heavily on Bayley’s past, going into detail about the pivotal moments in his life and cultural influences from America that affected his childhood before moving to the UK.
The album shows a more dreamy, pop-inspired side of the band, departing from the slithery, psychedelic vibes of their earlier work.
This new influence showed in the band’s performance, with neon signs and a huge television showing home videos and 90s-inspired visuals. The crowd sang along as Glass Animals powered through new tracks off of Dreamland and older favorites, such as “Black Mambo” and “Gooey”, singles which helped vault the band to mainstream popularity when they were released almost a decade ago.
They have come a long way since the first time I saw them at Bonnaroo 2015, playing an “opening” slot on a Thursday evening on a small and sweaty tent stage. Now, Glass Animals have the number one song on Billboard and are consistently headlining festivals across the country. With their continued success and their clear ability to sell out medium cap venues, how long will it be until we see Glass Animals selling out stadiums or playing the halftime show at the Super Bowl?
Photography by Thomas Semonco & Sean Rider; Recap by Sean Rider