I finally saw Glassjaw last night. I’ve been a fan since Worship & Tribute but have never had the chance to see them live. The Long Island based band has become legend within the hardcore scene for their intense live shows despite rarely touring and only releasing two full length albums. Seeing Glassjaw perform live is a rare treat that few get to experience.
As the band set up their own gear and checked their levels, I got the sense that the overly hipster scene oriented audience had no clue what was about to be unleashed upon them and how privileged they were to witness a band that was going to absolutely destroy the headliner (Brand New).
A green Puerto Rican flag (one of the many Glassjaw logos) was raised behind them, guitarist Justin Beck said he was ready, Daryl walked out and they tore right into “John Fucking Lennon.” No lighting. No talking, just complete core. The band’s unorthodox stage set-up created an interesting vibe in the room. With the drums angled to the side, and monitors placed around the kit facing out, the rest of the band face inward, ignoring the audience. This arrangement made the show feel more like an intimate practice jam in a rehearsal space. The musicians were playing for themselves and didn’t care about crowd presence or reaction. They were there to play their songs and fuck it if the audience was watching. Pretty fitting for a band that usually keeps fans in the dark about the band in general. The whole set was no frills and stripped down, as it should be.
The House of Blues sound system is amazing and the rhythm section completely destroyed. For the specific type of melodic hardcore the band plays, I was skeptical they could pull off the intensity and proficiency as a quartet, but they were easily the tightest band I’ve seen in the last two years. There was a good mix of old and new in their set list, but because GJ is so erratic with their releases, the young crowd seemed unfamiliar with most of their material.
Below is a video of “Jesus Glue” from a few nights before in Philadelphia. It’s great quality and shows the stage set up I was talking about. Hopefully Glassjaw can carry the momentum of this tour towards a new album and future shows to show all these new pussy bands how it’s done.