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Glass Beams charm London with their sonic mysticism at EartH

Glass Beams charm London with their sonic mysticism at EartH

Glass Beams live at EartH Hackney London

I knew we were in for an interesting night as soon as we walked into the EartH theatre.

A wooden amphitheatre layout with hundreds of seated people fixed toward the smokey stage; a terrifying prospect for even the most established bands.

Now amassing an ever-climbing peak of over 1.1 million monthly listeners across Spotify after the release of their EP ‘Mahal’ the other week. The title track and lead single has been streamed more than 6 million times, an exponential climb since their formation in lockdown, but the masks have stayed.

Another testimony to the success of resisting the common preach and all too easy pull of plastering every tiny detail about your life on social media. 

The group have 14 posts on Instagram, with clips of unreleased music, no talking, no faces, and has hit over 750k followers.

Enigma wins again.

But how did they fare live; one layer closer to reality?

There was that awkward energy that’s only ever felt in arenas of art. You know the kind, the one where you spend just as much time looking at the reactions of the people around you as you do the art.

Am I experiencing this properly? Am I missing something? Why is that guy staring so intently? Why do I not have the urge to dance like the bloke that just interpretive danced his way down the stairs? (More on this later).

All darting across my mind, as they do in most settings with art folk (yes, including the dance one usually).

I then found myself questioning whether it was just me having these thoughts, which led to a terrible spiral resulting in me staring intently at the band.

They deserved the fixated gaze.

From the start, they were charming, quite literally.

Mirage eased the fully seated crowd in with enchanting sounds and gasping vocals, with lights that veiled the stage. If we were cartoons, jaws would be on the floor.

By Kong, things got interesting. Wild, dare I say.

Unearthly dancing was coaxed out of individuals like a confession they’d had stewing for years had been expelled by the subtle, yet complex grooves.

Group by group, the audience was raised to their feet, slowly making its way over like a retired Mexican wave dusting its boots off.

Eventually, I was engulfed by swaying people. 

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They did it. The masked group with no frontman, no vocals, and no talk between songs captivated and cajoled a sold-out, 700-capacity auditorium into frenetic dancing. 

It didn’t stop there.

The cosmic polyrhythms of Black Sand was the tipping point. Like an eccentric romance film, I had people clicking fingers and sidestepping down the stairs to be at the front of the stage.

All the while, a groovy, but fairly subdued Orb played in the background. I say background because the audience had become such an integral part of the evolution of the performance.

It seemed an overreaction. As if people were parading some sort of independent dominance by cracking out some of the body’s hidden moves.

I was trying to resist the spell for the dance committee’s sake, but the music only seemed to fill more of my mind. The space sounded bigger but felt immensely tighter.

The fact I was trying to resist anything shows that Glass Beams possesses this hypnotic spell that controls the crowd without verbal prompts.

If you thought the masquerade would cause a disconnect, then you don’t know the power of mystery in human nature.

I have a feeling you’ll be hearing more but knowing less about Glass Beams. Watch out.

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