Welcome to Dreamland: Glass Animals at the Keller
Fresh off a nomination for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammys, Glass Animals pack the house for a second night of a sold out Keller Auditorium, proving that after twelve illustrious years, they’re only just getting started. Words by Bren Swogger and photos by Sydnie Kobza. Full photo gallery from the show here.
Anyone who has been following them through the years knows that the phenomenon that is Glass Animals is nothing new. Back in 2014, the band brought their debut album ZABA to Portland’s Crystal Ballroom. Since then, they have returned countless times to the Rose City for shows at a sold out Edgefield, a sold out Schnitz, and now, touring behind their third record Dreamland, two nights of a completely sold out Keller Auditorium.
At the same time the band took to the Portland stage, they had also just reached another milestone for the first time in their illustrious twelve year career: their song “Heat Waves” had finally snagged the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100.
With not an empty seat in sight and literally the number one song in America, it really begged the question of why, after so many years working their way to the top, they are only now being nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys.
Since Dreamland’s emergence, Glass Animals have caught a true heat wave that has raised them to heights far beyond their loyal indie fanbase. And now, with an even broader appeal than ever before, the band was ready to bring their live show magic to an even bigger audience, filled with longtime fans and fresh faces alike.
Since their very beginning, Glass Animals have been known for their extravagant stage setups. Even at that first Crystal Ballroom show eight years ago, their stage was dressed in full jungle couture, with palm trees framing the band at every angle.
Now, the stage is decorated like a late 90s neon dream. Signs blinking POOL, HOTEL, and MOON sit amongst inflatable palm trees, an oversized basketball hoop, and a diving board jutting off stage into the crowd. Behind it all sits a projector screen, dressed to look like a massive computer monitor, shining out with a Windows 98-style textbox:
Welcome to Dreamland
Type a username and password to log in to Dreamland
As the time of the band’s arrival draws nearer, a countdown worthy of the worst of Windows 98 memories blinks onto the towering desktop:
48% of Glass Animals Showtime.exe Completed
Saving: showtime.exe from ftp://opensourse.glassanimals.com
Estimated time left: 2 minutes
But just as suddenly as it started, the download comes to a halt, then jumps:
While the time continues to blink and switch, the crowd simply waits. But 20 minutes later, a man appears, carrying a single pineapple. As he approaches the edge of the stage, he places the pineapple in front of the crowd… and the countdown is finally dislodged, an actual four minute timer now ticking down the seconds.
When the clock finally reaches zero, the lights dim, the crowd cheers, and Glass Animals take the stage. Immediately, every seat from the floor to the back of the balcony is on their feet, jumping as the opening beat to “Life Itself” blasts through the room.
Between the bass turned up to 11 and the feet pounding the floor, the entire building seems to rumble and shake. Anyone walking on the sidewalk outside the building may think there was an earthquake happening, as the vibrations radiate out through the ground below.
Glass Animals have always been a crowd pleaser. However, the pure riot that they caused in this sold out Keller Auditorium was beyond anything they’d brought before. House security couldn’t control the crowd enough to keep the fans from spilling out of their seats and rushing the stage, creating a dense crowd at the front of the orchestra section.
Playing through a fifteen song set, the energy never died. The crowd never sat. Fans of all ages—from a toddler on their father’s shoulders to a group of drunk mom’s dancing arm in arm in the aisle—all joined to raise the roof, shake the building, and prove that Glass Animals, after twelve years of rocking, are maybe only just getting started.
With the high demand they bring, and still nowhere to go but up, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Glass Animals fill a sold out Moda Center upon their sure return.