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Concert recap: Glass Animals at the Civic

Live music post-Katrina has been somewhat of an enigma. Right after the storm, the city struggled to get acts in, with the exception of the occasional benefit show that popped up. Nearly 10 years later, the city is finally starting to see more of those big acts come to town, although we still don’t get the major summer tours.

In the past couple of years, the city has benefited from the major festivals in Austin. Bands will hit New Orleans on the way to or from ACL, SXSW, Fun Fun Fun, and Levitation Music Festival (Formerly Psych Fest).

All that being said, it still amazes me what audiences various shows tend to draw. Some well-known acts have a smattering of a showing, while  less well-known names pack a venue with no problem. I’ve stopped guessing who will and will not draw and put it down to luck and circumstance.

Monday night’s Glass Animals show at the Civic Theater had all the makings of a scanty attendance, as the band only has one CD and a couple of EPs. But the venue was nearly sold out.

Glass Animals are an indie-tonic four-piece grouop from Oxford England. The formed in 2012 and attribute trip-hop acts like Flying Lotus and Madlib as major influences. Their debut album, ZABA, named after the children’s book The Zabajaba Jungle by William Steig, was released a year ago, almost to the day of Monday night’s show. The album has spawned the singles "Black Mambo," “Pools,” “Gooey,” and “Hazy,” all of which were present in Monday’s set.

One good thing about having only one album and two EP’s is the likelihood that you’ll hear your favorite song. And the one downside is the length of the show. The visuals and down-tempo vibes the band put forth washed blissfully over the crowd. The stage was minimal, with a backdrop of the band's names and several pyrami-shaped light fixtures that changed colors depending on the mood and tempo of the songs. Moving lights and smoke machines filled out any voids where there was no band member.

Throughout the main set, it was clear that the audience was waiting for two songs in particular, which they weren’t given. That reward arrived during the encore. The Kanye West cover of “Love Lockdown” and band anthem “Pools” carried the already energetic crowd over the top.

This was Glass Animals' first concert in New Orleans, and Dave Bayley had nothing but praise for the city. You can see an extended gallery here: http://jalbum.net/a/1630212

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.