Glass Animals at Glastonbury 2022: do they justify their place as one of Britain’s biggest bands?

The Oxford band return to Glastonbury buoyed by the success of 'Heat Waves'

It’s been, in almost every way, a good year to be Glass Animals. Granted, they missed out on their first Grammy Awards after being nominated for Best New Artist and frontman Dave Bayley tested positive for COVID – but it’s been pretty smooth sailing apart from that.

The runaway success of ‘Heat Waves’ is showing no sign of slowing down, and as the Oxford band took to The Other Stage on Saturday (June 25) for their fourth Glastonbury appearance since 2014 – and their first UK festival in five years – it quickly became obvious why Glass Animals have well earned their reputation of one of Britain’s biggest bands, and how they might be able to keep the momentum up.

Their visuals are unmatched

Glass Animals Glastonbury
Glass Animals (Credit: Andy Ford for NME)


From tropical motels and lilac basketball hoops to glitchy pac-man simulations, a Glass Animals show always delivers on trippy visuals that suck you in to these colourful worlds. Despite a gloriously sunny early evening set on The Other Stage, that sense of immersion was still palpable at Glastonbury without the usual technicolour lights filling a dark room – the mark of focused world builders who aren’t going anywhere.

‘Heat Waves’ keeps getting hotter… 

At the start of this year, the Oxford four-piece became the first UK band to reach the top of Spotify’s global singles chart with their unstoppable 2020 single ‘Heat Waves’, which in May became the second longest-charting song in Billboard Pop Airplay history with 48 weeks – overtaking fellow Brit Lewis Capaldi with his 2019 track ‘Before You Go’. Even Hollywood legend Woody Harrelson loves it – as evidenced when he turned up side of stage.

Glass Animals
Woody Harrelson enjoying Glass Animals at Glastonbury (Credit: Andy Ford for NME)

Live, almost two years exactly since it was released, it’s still spectacular. “It’s the perfect place for it,” Bayley teases before launching into the song everyone’s been waiting for, basking in the hottest weather, genuinely, anyone’s had all festival. “It’s basically the middle of June, innit?” he says, before launching into the song that changed everything.

…but so does the competition 

There’s no doubting Glass Animals’ fans, but with a slot on The Other Stage while contemporaries Easy Life played the Pyramid just a few hours before, it does make you wonder what’s missing for the Oxford band to take the leap up.

Haim were also playing at the same time, on the Pyramid – Glass Animals have certainly earned their slot, but with bands like Two Door Cinema Club before them and Blossoms in their midst, it’s worth wondering whether a change of tack (and an easier technical setup, which set the boys back 15 minutes on the Other) could be worth considering. Just as The Strokes trod new ground on ‘The New Abnormal’, expanding their sound would only make them stronger.

There’s no better time to nurture their relationships 


Glass Animals Glastonbury
Glass Animals at Glastonbury (Credit: Andy Fox for NME)

Recent single ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)’ sees the boys utterly in their element, but you can’t help but imagine how much more electric the show could have been with the help of The Strokes‘ Albert Hammond Jr onstage, who wrote the hair-rising riff which sees out a new version of the song.

The band clearly has strong ties with a lot of fellow artists, having remixed Florence + The Machine’s ‘My Love’ and covered ‘Solar Power’ by Lorde – imagine how far they could soar with more collaborations like this, on stage and off.

Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews photos and more from Glastonbury 2022

You May Like