Two of our favorite bands at the moment are genre-bending electronic group Glass Animals
and spiritual indie rock band Pumarosa
. So when we had the opportunity to catch them live together at New York City's Terminal 5, we pounced.
I got to the venue twenty minutes before the opener and it was already packed to the brim. I squeezed my way into the crowd until I was cozily wedged in between a group of "bros" to the left and a group of sorority girls to the right. Not my ideal spatial situation, but it all rapidly changed once Pumarosa entered the stage. They came out with their spiritual anthems and suddenly everything fell into place. It's rare to see a New York crowd react positively to an opening act, but Pumarosa broke down that wall. Strangers got together, started dancing, and they cheered every time an epic moment happened in the song (which happened quite a few times). At one point, it looked like lead woman, Isabel Munoz-Newsome, started playing her guitar with a stick instead of strumming, which created a more chaotic and ethereal sound.
Highlights of their set included "Honey" and "Priestess." In "Honey," Isabel screamed "You stupid son of a bitch" over and over again, emitting overall bad-assery. "Priestess" was an almost ten minute long dance party, where the band grooved to a tribe-like beat. Isabel rocked a shiny dress, energetically danced around the stage like Mick Jagger, and played the guitar and the tambourine as if it was her last chance to ever play. When I got to talk to her just a few weeks ago
, she told me about how the band wrote and rehearsed a lot in big empty spaces like abandoned cinemas. "[The cinema] is a huge cavernous space, so it does make you play differently because you've just got this enormous beautiful echo, and so you play much more expansively. In fact, there's this one tune that we did out there that we're still wrestling with now because it just doesn't quite work unless you're in this massive space," she said. But I can say this for sure - all of the songs they performed last night definitely translated the feeling of an expansive, cavernous space. Disco beats blared and soaring guitars soaked every bit of the room, including the bar all the way in the back. Vocal samples and electronics helped fill everything else that needed filling. Pumarosa's got a huge sound.
After that, headliners Glass Animals arrived with an exhilarating performance. I was particularly interested to see them live because the production on their new record How To Be A Human Being
was so good, I wondered if it translated that
well live. Spoiler alert: It totally did. They came out on stage and immediately dived into one of their latest singles, "Life Itself." The sound was crystal clear - almost immaculate - and I was stunned. The band was so tight and their years of playing showed. They picked a bunch of songs from their catalogue including, "Youth," "Hazey," and ended on a personal favorite, "Pork Soda." "Pineapples are in my head"
the crowd sang on repeat. Then they came out for an encore with a cover of Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" and "Pools." The band has an energy like no other - jumping around, throwing pineapples, and sounding just like the record.