(First posted on http://www.recessiondodgetovictory.wordpress.com on 31/08/2011)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

This one is a little late as I’m still recovering from my birthday week festivities and the phlegm and sickness that followed after it. This review comes with a second disclaimer – I’m a complete and utter Glassjaw fan boy. If you’re looking for an unbiased review, I suggest that you look elsewhere.

So… 11 years in the making to see my favourite band of all time. They’ve been amazing since I first heard their explosive introductory track ‘Pretty Lush’ from a Kerrang CD back in the 90s. I’ve missed every opportunity to see Glassjaw since they first hit the UK back in 2000 when they came over with Deftones and Soulfly. Like Earthtone9, I thought I had missed my last chance to dance when they split in 2004, only for them to leave tantalising hints of their reformation over the following 4 years.

My reason for sticking with Glassjaw throughout my life could have been because of those hints at reformation and the hope for a follow up of the quality music their fans have come to expect of them. However  I like to think I stuck with them because of their ability to move and grow up with their fans. If their first album represented teenage anger and frustration, their second a form of regret and yet more frustration that coincided with my university years then their latest amazing material is where I am now – growing and accepting previous frustrations and moving forward to new successes. For them to visit Scotland on my birthday and in my hometown felt fated.

Better yet when an old acquaintance in the form of Suicoperro, whom I’d first heard in my university days when I discovered Biffy Clyro, where announced to play as support. I’d never been to see them as I only liked a few of their stand out tracks from their album ‘Random Acts of Intimacy’ but they were the perfect addition for me as an opening act.

In this faculty, Sucioperro played material I had never heard before, presumably from their latest album that I imagine they were promoting.  Their material had a great pounding bass sound and a rawness I remember from ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’ when Biffy were still rough around the edges and experimental. I want to stop comparing Sucioperro to their Scottish compatriots but even as someone who appreciates their work I struggle. However, I’ll definitely be getting the rest of their albums and heading along to their next gig the first opportunity I get.

If that weren’t enough, up-and-comers Rolo Tomassi joined the fray to give us a fresh new sound – one I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy from just watching Youtube excerpts of them. Live however, they were a different experience altogether. I don’t think I’ve ever been so awed and bemused all at the same time as I was three songs into their set. (EDIT: Which turned out to be this track – the breakdown… holy fuck! WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN)

Their music was incredibly technical and at points reminded me of early prog. Later on, their setlist became increasingly more hardcore oriented with a harsher rawer sound. If I had to describe them I’d say, put Rush, Dillinger Escape Plan and The Mars Volta in a raunchy hotel room and imagine what kind of offspring that union would bring. For listeners of Iwrestledabearonce and HORSE The Band.

If you see them in the future try not to get caught out by the by the one-two sucker punch of vocalist Eva Spence’s screaming followed up quickly by her quiet, polite thanks  at the end of each song. Indeed I ROFL’d. Verily.

Many of you who know me have seen me in Glassjaw clothes, so naturally I looked forward to buying up some of their merch – a new wardrobe actually. The added draw to this is that I wanted to pick up their free Coloring Book EP distributed only at gigs.  Since their merch was absent at the start of the gig, throughout the support I kept checking back to see if the band had set up their merch yet alongside the two support acts’  material but was left sorely disappointed. No explanation has been offered as to why there was no merchandise. Some theories include shipping issues or the entire stock being sent Reading and Leeds. Either way, not the best.

And yet, it was a minor flaw – well, considering the show they put on. There are setlists out there if you want to find them and I could write up a bunch of adjectives, similes and metaphors to explain how great the gig was but there’s no need really. If you’ve experienced a Glassjaw set before, then you have and you’ll know the feeling of greatness in your midst. You won’t wonder as you watch their recorded live performances online at how large sections of the crowd can sing along to every word to every song and keep jumping around to frontman Daryl Palumbo’s stage antics. You won’t have to extract meaning from alternate lyric lists around the net because you experienced the meaning of the words yourself. You won’t have to question whether or not you would be in the middle of the pit with the rest of the crowd or if you’d be on the side line or sitting on your ass at the back of the venue. You’d be there experiencing what makes them great.

If  you haven’t seen them yet, hopefully you won’ t have to wait 11 years, but if you do like I did, you’ll know it was worth it.

The only material of the gig I could find was of Sucioperro so have some mixed recent live performances for Rolo Tomassi and Glassjaw:

And one from Reading and Leeds since they stole all our fucking merch!

Advertisements