View all of Cindy’s Glassjaw/RX Bandit photos here.
It’s been 7 years since Glassjaw released “Worship and Tribute” an album that many people, including myself, consider flawless. A similar amount of time has passed since the band has seriously toured. Aside from a few one off shows, and some short east coast runs throughout the years, Glassjaw has kept a relatively low profile. But if you know anything about the band’s history or their absolutely ravenous fanbase, then you know that simply being able to avoid the spotlight is no small feat for the group. With all this in mind I should have been surprised when I strolled up to The Mayan theater to find it sold out, with a line wrapping around the block. I wasn’t. So despite the long lines, a fever of 101, and a security guard that didn’t seem to understand how crucial the vitamin C in my Topicana orange juice was to my rapidly declining state of health, I troopered on and made my way inside the venue.
The Mayan is extremely well designed for it’s size, with an open floor, balcony seating, and bars tucked in every corner, it’s architect definitely made the most of it’s square footage. We quickly made our way to the barricades in front of the stage so we could catch the first three songs from the energetic opening act, The RX Bandits. When the lights hit, and the band finally took to the stage the entire audience was treated to an inspired drum number where each member of the band had a set of sticks, and a drum to contribute to the raucous percussive bombast. It was spectacular. They blasted seamlessly into their opening number, and I quickly remembered what makes these guys so special, they’re impeccable.
Their unique blend of ska, post hardcore, and tight vocal interaction puts them back on my list of “bands I have no excuse to not listen to”. To their credit, Matt Embree, and Steve Choi have an exceptional stage dynamic that shone through their entire performance, defined their stage time, and displayed their vocal strength all at once without so much as a single flaw. For a band that has gone through so many lineup changes, and has had to deal with label issues, and the other typical band crap, it was very refreshing to see them having a blast, and rocking it out.
After a performance that left me wishing I knew more about The RX Bandits recent years, and music, I was ready for some Glassjaw. I didn’t have to wait very long at all, as the band wasted no time tearing into some new material.
The new music sounded as fresh and tight as ever, and showed that age has done nothing to take away the bands bite. Whatever doubts Daryl Palumbo, and Head Automatica had put in my head about his ability to still scream his lungs out, were laid to rest. And as he and Justin Beck shredded effortlessly into “Tip Your Bartender”, and fan favorite “Mu Empire” it became immediately clear that this band was in no danger of going soft anytime soon. What’s also interesting, is just like The RX Bandits, Glassjaw has had to deal with a major component of their sound disappearing in the form of Todd Weinstock and his guitar, but just like the Bandits, it’s done nothing to take away the impact of their music. By the time “Ape Dos Mil” hit the speakers, and the familiar snare roll, and bass lick combo thudded through my chest, the entire crowd was swaying, singing, and swooning all at once.
After the song, we were kicked out of the barricades, and had to quickly find a comfortable spot to watch the rest of the show. We made our way to the left side of The Mayan, and found ourselves between the guard railing and a conveniently placed set of items, in the forms of a guy selling beer, and a trashcan. Taking refuge in my new found sanctuary of alcohol and sanitation I was treated to another new song, which after a short explanation Daryl Revealed to be “Jesus Glue.”
I was utterly surprised at how aggressive the new material is shaping out to be, with Daryl’s frequent screams, and an explosive blend of old school hardcore sensibility, and dare I say Latin influences? But even more critical than that is how much the band has matured within their material, the new songs are so much more fleshed out than their previous work and show a band that has used the time away to construct something bulletproof.
And continuing with that trend the highlight of the night for me was an equally bulletproof performance of the almost completely bass powered titular track from the album “Worship and Tribute”, and gauging from the response of the fans, it was theirs too. Bassist Manuel Carrero (Pew Pew) delivered every bass lick with precision, setting up the foundation for the wall of guitar sound that Justin Beck creates on every Glassjaw track. And by the time the climactic end of the song rolled around it was amazingly clear why they’ve stuck by their drummer Durijah for so long, with every single member watching each other for the slightest cues, it was like watching a performing family, more than it was watching a band going through a set-list of predetermined songs.
So you can understand my disappointment when Daryl announced that they were only playing two more songs. But fortunately one of those last two songs was the “Hotel of the White Locust”
Whatever reserves of energy the boys had been saving up were quickly unleashed, and all hell broke loose. And as he screamed his way through the familiar chorus, “Who could ever, who the fuck could ever. Take place of me?” It became pretty evident by the time hit their second encore “Babe” the answer was a resounding “No one.” Good to have you back Glassjaw.
The RX Bandits are:
• Matt Embree – vocals, guitar
• Steve Choi – guitar, keyboards
• Joseph Troy – bass, backing vocals
• Christopher Tsagakis – drums
• Daryl Palumbo – Vocals
• Justin Beck – Guitars
• Durijah Lang – Drums, Percussion
• Manuel Carrero – Bass