Glass Animals’ ‘Live in the Internet’ sets high standard for livestream performances

Photo of Dave Bayley
Skylar De Paul/Staff

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Artists are doing everything they can to keep their fans engaged these days, and with everyone starved for live music, the livestreams have been pouring in from every corner. Taking a turn of their own, British indie electronic band Glass Animals gave a rousing performance for fans everywhere, called “Live in the Internet,” on Oct. 15. 

For the show, Glass Animals stood in front of their largest crowd yet — even if using “crowd” here is a stretch. More than 18,000 users logged on to view the concert and were immediately met with beaming stage decoration, unmatched musical talent and entertaining guest appearances.

The evening opened with a 10-minute montage of clips showing fans talking about their relationships with Glass Animals and experiences seeing the band live. A chat to the side of the window was flooded with pineapple emojis as fans told inside jokes and longed for the days of waiting in lines for hours before in-person shows. 

Soon enough, a vintage PC monitor appeared in the frame: Someone by the username of wAvEyDaVeY introduced the night in an instant message conversation. The camera panned over to show lead singer Dave Bayley sitting content at a purple-lit desk covered with analog visions of the past: a Polaroid camera, one of those static electricity globes and the like. Bayley served as the creative director for “Live in the Internet,” and his vaporwave inspirations showed through in just about every channel imaginable.

Opening with “Dreamland” — the song that begins Glass Animals’ newest record of the same name — a foggy atmosphere clouded the stage, bookended with jungle-like foliage as the band appeared in a bath of cool colors. The production value for this show was undeniably high, dynamic lighting and backgrounds adding to the overall viewing experience.

Bayley’s stage presence never faltered in the slightly over-an-hour-long show. He was rivaled only by his incredibly talented band members, their strengths shining on songs such as “Life Itself” and “Pork Soda.”

During a more intimate part of the evening, Bayley talked to the audience while approaching a fake mailbox set up near the stage, filling out a ballot as he spoke. While he expressed sadness at not being able to have the crowd physically present during the show, Bayley managed to highlight some of the humorous perks of a livestream performance. “There’s no tall people to stand in front of you,” he said. “No one spilling beer on you.”

Premiering a new version of “Tangerine,” the band brought out Arlo Parks as a special guest. The theatrics were present as a bright orange tangerine piñata was lowered from the ceiling, Bayley carrying a bat to take a swing. This led up to the appearance of Kanah Flex, the band’s second surprise artist of the night, who performed skilled contortionist dance movements in sync with Glass Animals’ song “Hazey.”

It’s tricky to navigate guest artists for livestreamed shows these days, but Glass Animals found a loophole by bringing in Denzel Curry via video chat for “Tokyo Drifting” — a livestream within a livestream, one might say. Drums sounded while a computer screen showed the words “incoming call: Denzel Curry,” the rapper flawlessly adding to the night even if he wasn’t there in person. 

The band looked suave among elaborate stage decoration; Bayley appeared particularly cool in an all-white outfit featuring a fuzzy sweater and high tops. Each member vibed as the deep, sensual bass notes of songs such as “Black Mambo” and “Hot Sugar” set the tone. 

Bayley’s vocals on songs such as “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” were punchy and full of energy, while songs such as “Heat Waves” provided more down-beat breaks. The show experienced a few major technical difficulties that hindered most viewers’ experiences — fans were quick to express their sadness in the chat — but the stream was made available for those with access to watch for a few days after airing to make up for the loss. 

Technical difficulties and want for in-person shows aside, Bayley still said the show was “definitely the best Zoom meeting I’ve ever had.”

Skylar De Paul is the arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.