For the annual CD102.5 Holiday Show, the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion was filled Monday with fans of one of the four bands showcased in annual alternative station’s concert.
Like clockwork, the opening act, Glass Animals, arrived on stage bathed in a slightly eerie green light. The entire performance had a dreamlike quality enhanced by the fact that these four dudes were from England and their accents did not disappoint. The quirky and earnest frontman, Dave Bayley, seemed in awe that he was performing in front of the enthusiastic crowd that is often the norm at most Columbus concerts. The highlight of this set had to be the band’s cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” soon after followed by Glass Animals’ otherworldly hit “Gooey.”
The group left a sweet aftertaste in their wake, like a soothing cup of English tea.
To use a cliché, I would say the difference between Glass Animals and Future Islands was night and day. If Glass Animals was a sleepy Sunday morning, Future Islands was that weird Thursday night you wish you could forget.
The three-man band is basically a one-man circus starring lead singer Samuel T. Herring. I could probably write an entire review on this one man, but to save some time and most of the audience’s innocence, I will try to be succinct.
From chest-pounding, face-slapping, erratic sudden lunges, some split-jumps and a strange fascination with imaginary objects, I will say Future Islands was nothing short of amusing, if not a bit terrifying. Herring’s enthusiasm was unparalleled, though, and I did enjoy the music’s intensity and flavor.
By this time, the audience was equally amused and frightened, so when Alt-J arrived with blinking red lights, smoke and the slight techno beat of “Hunger of the Pine,” there seemed to be a collective sigh of satisfaction: Here we go. Each of the band members stood in a line, illuminated by flashing lights and fog. There was a quiet intensity about Alt-J’s overall vibe. The band’s respect for its music was clear. While fans swayed and nodded their heads to the music, Alt-J let the music do the talking. As the group crooned, “This is for Matilda” during the melodious and harmonic “Matilda,” there didn’t seem to be one silent voice in all of the LC. Ending with popular fan favorite “Breezeblocks” was the move for Alt-J to leave the stage with one more fan.
Three bands into the night, the grand finale and main attraction was finally within reach. Frenzied screams filled the room as fans anticipated Cage the Elephant’s arrival. The band seemed like it could have been pulled from a retro-’70s concert venue with the members’ sparkling electric guitars, long locks and era-appropriate attire.
Lead singer Matt Shultz instantly brought the intensity and excitement that much of the opening acts’ performances had lacked. From ripping off his shirt during the encore and jumping into the audience to attempting to salsa dance during “Aberdeen,” the whole atmosphere of a Cage the Elephant concert was exciting and pumped-up. Shultz managed to both engage the audience through his performance as well as the music fans love. When “Come a Little Closer” started up, the adrenaline was at an all-time high, with fans head-banging and their hands waving in the air.
Overall, the CD102.5 Holiday Show brought some talented and unusual bands and performances. The sold-out show did not disappoint, but rather reminded me that this really is the most wonderful time of the year.