LIVE: GlassJaw @ Academy 1, Manchester (24/01/2010)

Date: January 24th, 2010
Venue: Academy 1, Manchester
Support: Shapes, Pulled Apart By Horses


Today, it’s a rare occurance to have the chance to see the band GlassJaw live, especially if you live outside of the US. Still, with only two very brief appearances since their reformation in 2006, the New York four-piece finally make a long overdue short headline tour across the UK. They may aswell whilst they’re over here in support of Brand New. With speculations and rumours of a new release since 2002’s ‘Worship & Tribute’ also on their shoulders, GlassJaw have an awful lot of weight on their shoulders.

Shapes (***) mainly instrumental hard rock assault is at times too much to take on board in the small chunks they deliver it in. It’s hard to believe that such wrecking and technical sounds come out from just three men, who flow the intensity of their songs through their bodies to kick things up a notch and get the mood started for the crowd before them. ‘The Moon Is Bright, But Coned Off’ and ‘Everything More Out Of Tune Than Everything Else’ reveals the intricacy and precission of guitarist Steven Bachelor while maintaining an animalistic nature, whilst drummer Gavin Filmer‘s timing and bassist Richard Buckley‘s added ferocity only puts things up another few levels.

Things aren’t let down one bit by Leeds’ Pulled Apart By Horses (****), who if anything put what Shapes created into frantic-mode. Sporting eye-catchingly bright orange socks, frontman Tom Hudson is one of the more energetic frontmen in the established young bands of today. Whether he’s flailing about with guitar-in-hand on stage or pressed upon the barrier axe-less and screaming the lyrics into the bystanders on front, Tom makes every effort to get energy across the room for the night’s headliners. Song titles like ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ and ‘E = MC Hammer’ shows the band have a comedic gene within them too, which is only enforced more when guitarist James Brown kneels down to knock off a security guard’s cap off mid-song, before jumping around like a sugar-rushed toddler again.

It’s not often that all support acts pull off energetic and exciting performances to such an extent, but sadly on some levels GlassJaw (****) only just manage to follow them. Maybe it’s the long wait and high expectations within most of the crowd which could cramp this down, but in terms of onstage energy compared to their support acts, they could do better. None the less, if it were any other band of a lower status then what they pull out of their bags is exceptional. With a range of different dressing styles for all members, GlassJaw may look like a bunch of misfits, but with his oversized Suicidal Tendencies t-shirt Daryl Palumbo still maintains the reputation of being one of the most emotionally and visually intense frontmen alive today. Newbies like the heavy-hitting ‘(You Think You’re) John Fucking Lennon’ and the finger tap driven ‘All Good Junkies Go To Heaven’ are welcomed with open arms, whilst the old favourites ‘Siberian Kiss’, ‘Babe’, ‘Pretty Lush’ and ‘Mu Empire’ willingly drive the crowd into an insane flurry of bodies and sweat of dedication and love to this legendary band to those who follow them. The band keep banter short and sweet throughout their set aside from a brief mention about “frozen margheritas” being popular with American chavs and the usual expected in-between song chit-chat, in order to “keep things going” and get as many songs in their time as possible. GlassJaw press all the right buttons, but bring a slight disappointment to an array of fans with no mention of an expected new release, and only very little more than a thanks by the end of the set.

You’re loved over here GlassJaw, just make your visits more regular so you needn’t have to make up for years of absence with something nothing less than blinding. Either way, it’s good to see some evidence of a permanent return to the scene.

Written by Zach Redrup