Review: Glass Animals brought energetic melodies, floods of color and pineapples to their sold-out St. Paul show

Glass Animals are master musical storytellers.

Glass Animals lead singer Dave Bayley greets the crowd at Palace Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Saint Paul.

Ellen Schmidt

Glass Animals lead singer Dave Bayley greets the crowd at Palace Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Saint Paul.

Katie Lauer

Supporting their sophomore album, “How to Be a Human Being,” the genre-bending indie rock band Glass Animals came to the Palace Theatre Wednesday. They opened their set to a sold out crowd with the lively song “Life Itself.” 

The rhythmic drums, driving synths and a pineapple disco ball got the theater jumping from the start. The band never missed a beat while telling the stories of the many characters featured on their 2016 album, from the slick riffs of “Poplar St” and the 80s-videogame-esque keys of “Season 2 Episode 3.”

While frontman Dave Bayley told A&E before the show that some of the songs are “quite autobiographical,” many are inspired by real people they’ve met on the road. He said that sense of inspiration helps him let loose while performing. 

“There’s definitely a lot of trying to embody the character, and it gives me an excuse to go a bit crazy for the songs,” Bayley said. “Otherwise, I don’t know, if it was just me on stage, I’d probably just be chilling in a chair singing.”

Amid the secondhand anecdotes, the English foursome also freely delved back into the atmospheric groove of their 2014 debut, “Zaba.”

The glittering vibrato of “Black Mambo” and “Gooey,” their highest streamed songs to date, brought the tempo down but kept the energy alive. Some of that could be attributed to the show’s color and lighting, which helped fuel the vibe in the room. 

Flood gates of red light opened during “Mama’s Gun;” white strobes injected manic intensity into the drug-influenced “Cane Shuga;” the lone spotlights and disco ball lighting during Bayley’s favorite tune, “Agnes,” brought tension and pain to the sadness-soaked lyrics.

Bayley said this wasn’t a coincidence.

“I love color — I think black and white’s a bit boring,” he said. “I think color’s definitely interesting. It’s kind of a way to inject personality into something.”

All of the color and energy fit together for a flowing show, and while the live tempos were often a bit faster than their album versions, it all felt natural.  

Since their first stop in the Twin Cities last October for this record, they’ve played festival stops like Bonnaroo and Coachella. However, Bayley said no matter where the band performs, the energy is always there.

“[At festivals] you have their feral energy,” he explained. “But we’ve been getting that same sort of energy at our own shows anyway, actually. The headline shows have been crazy.”

All of the heads bobbing, hips swinging and bodies dancing (flailing) all night Wednesday confirmed that story, and it wasn’t long until the pure roar of the crowd brought Glass Animals back onstage after a 13-song set.

Returning for the encore with a crooning sonic-turned-heavy-rock cover of the 2006 Gnarls Barkley classic “Crazy,” the Palace was again full of voices singing along. That noise only grew when Bayley grabbed a pineapple — the unofficial logo for the album — from the stage.

The closing pop-funk of “Pork Soda” put the finishing touches on the night, as everyone sang the catchy lyric “pineapples are in my head” right along with Bayley.

And although originally a misheard sentence, no one misheard the energetic and captivating performance they put on that night.