Glassjaw : Detroit St Andrew’s Hall

...truly hardcore...

Jarvis Cocker would probably be aghast, but tonight it’s his words that introduce Long Island angst-core heroes Glassjaw as they troop out on stage. There’s just one difference: when the rangy ex-Pulp man deadpanned ‘This Is Hardcore’, he was referring to porn. Tonight, Glassjaw use it as a statement of intent.

Because, unlike a lot of their peers, this is a band with depth. Not only are they possessed of a sharp sense of dynamics, but their reference points are broader than most. This is put into sharp perspective by openers American Nightmare, whose employment of loudness for its own sake makes it even more surprising when Glassjaw take an introspective step back. Combined with ‘Ape Dos Mil’s off-kilter melody and the references to avant-weirdo Frank Zappa on ‘Gillette Calvacade Of Sports’, it’s obvious that Glassjaw are more than just another bunch of boneheaded saynothings with abrasive guitars and carpet-bombing percussion.

Not that they’re shy retiring types, mind. They emphatically know when to let rip, pummelling the crowd with dual doses of severity and passion. When one girl throws her homemade GJ shirt at singer Daryl Palumbo, he slips it on, whipping and convulsing around the stage howling. People feed off his presence as he leads them down his warpath, questioning authority and rejecting conformity. They finally arrive in the UK this week. Prime yourself, because Glassjaw are truly hardcore.

Ken Taylor