Glass Animals at Ascend Ampitheater in Nashville, TN

Glass Animals @ Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville | Photo by Emily Swafford

Fans young and old showed up and sang it all out with Glass Animals on their Nashville stop of the Dreamland Tour.

Ascend Amphitheater is Nashville’s most breathtaking spot for outdoor music. It sits on the edge of the Cumberland River with the stunning Nashville skyline as its background to the streamlined stage. Rain passed through just before the gates were opened, but it did nothing to hold back the crowds.

Genesis Owusu kicked the night off with a dramatic entrance and dancers emerging from beneath his cloak. Kofi Owusu-Ansah, more popularly known as Genesis Owusu, is a Ghana-born genre-smashing artist who moved to Australia as a young child. While living in a primarily white area, Kofi spent a lot of time trying to figure out who he was. His older brother, Koji, was making music and convinced Kofi to work on a hip-hop project together, the Ansah Brothers. This project built confidence for Kofi and he began his solo career, releasing an EP in 2017.

Genesis Owusu owned the stage as his meld of hip-hop, funk, and dance music carried him back and forth across the stage as he touted his powerful lyrics and red and black look. Not to be ignored were his dancers/vocalists the “Black Dogs.” Stemming from lyrics in “The Other Black Dog” from his 2021 album, Smiling With No Teeth, they represent the darkness of mental health struggles.

With a stripped-down, almost spoken word opening, he sang his newest release, “GTFO.” This is a song that he says will begin to portray a different version of himself, The Roach, a creature that does whatever it can to survive, even when it’s told to get the f*** out.

An artist with a lot of life to get out into his music, but many ways to do it, he finished with the fun and funky tunes, “Don’t Need You” and “Good Times,” ending the set with a lot of new fans.

To set the Dreamland vibes flawlessly, the stage backdrop was a large computer screen and the stage itself was a pool you grew up going to as a child. From the diving board to the glowing neons above the stage, the crowd was full of nostalgia, and very hype, as they played a Windows 95-esque countdown to showtime.

Glass Animals was formed in England by lead singer Dave Bayley. Bayley grew up in Massachusetts and Texas, but at age 13 his family relocated to his father’s home in Oxford, England. There he was enrolled in St. Edwards School where he would go on to meet the three other band members and form Glass Animals in 2010.

After an explosive countdown from the audience, Glass Animals ran onto the stage to open with a “Life Itself” while fans jumped and sang every word. The catchy, electronic-driven “Tangerine” had Dave strutting back and forth in front of the crowd. Possibly settling into that “Wavey Davey” mindset. He says this alter ego allows him to perform to such a level onstage.

The Dreamland album was written by Bayley as he sat bedside Glass Animals drummer, Joe Seaward, in the hospital following an almost fatal wreck. He wanted to recount memories to his friend and wound up recounting his own memories of growing up in the songs found in Dreamland. During “Youth,” the video screens had home videos that really tied in the nostalgia of the Dreamland Tour.  

The fans hung on throughout the whole ride as they played almost all the favorites before saying their thank yous, taking a bow, and leaving the stage. The light blue glowing computer screen came back while the crowd demanded an encore.

Dave, Ed, Drew, and Joe gave the crowd exactly what they wanted when they returned to the stage and finished with “Toyo Driftin” and the “Heat Waves.”

GLASS ANIMALS
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GENESIS OWUSU
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ASCEND AMPHITHEATER
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About Emily Swafford 4 Articles
Emily is a Nashville-based photographer whose photo and music obsessions both started as a preteen. As an adult, her life includes a lot of both! Emily is a Band Director during the day, but since 2019, during her time away from school, she began swapping her baton for a camera. That year, she began shooting electronic music shows around Nashville and now shoots shows, music festivals, and portraits.