Review: Glassjaw and Quicksand Deliver A Heavy Performance at Concord Music Hall

Whenever I think of Glassjaw I think of the downpour before one of their Riot Fest performances in Chicago. Whenever I think of Quicksand I think of their lack of material but enough to keep me interested throughout my lifetime. I’m finally seeing Quicksand for the first while it’s my third time seeing Glassjaw. These two bands may be from the same state but success with both have varied. It makes me eager to see what energy they draw from the crowd at Concord Music Hall, a venue known for Riot Fest aftershows, North Coast aftershows, and an assortment of punk rock and EDM acts. It’s another post rain humid Chicago summer night that hasn’t stopped anyone from packing the venue I mingle with a few familiar faces working security at Concord before I make my trek up the long black metal stairs to reach the stage. I was able to catch a few songs from another New York based band Spotlights. Loud and melodic enough to understand why they’re supporting Quicksand and Glassjaw but left a feeling that I could see a band like this at any local dive bar if I wanted to. Their set ends and everyone disperses to the bar, it’s not quite as packed as I expected it to be for an early evening show but I’m sure the rush of Quicksand fans will start filling the room in no time. Quicksand emerges from the green room met with cheers from the crowd, they smile and begin playing, "Freezing Process" from their 1993 debut album Slip. There’s something special about hearing someone scream words that you can’t quite make out over empowering guitar tones but it warms my heart like, Americans cheering during the world cup even though America never made it to this year’s World Cup. Quicksand’s set isn’t bad it leaves me wanting more from a band that doesn’t play Chicago as often as you would think a post-hardcore band would, a genre this city and especially this venue loves. Their career spanning set was met with many cheers from the tipsy crowd awaiting Glassjaw. I’ve been able to inch closer and closer to the stage between set changes and everyone’s frantic beers runs that I’m finally front and center of the stage. As time passes by a fellow concert goer points at my band shirt to chat away about hardcore band Integrity and proceeds to tell me about all his traveling over his lifetime to see Glassjaw. A brief but meaningful interaction makes standing around slightly more interesting. Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo slides onto stage front and center as the rest of the band fills in, you can hear the faint screams of female fans but mostly the loud groans from the sea of dudes in tonight’s crowd. They open with, "Cut and Run" from last year’s long awaited, Material Control in the same realm as their past output but still has the crowd nodding their heads until they play ‘Tip Your Bartender’ a personal favorite of mine and most Glassjaw fans. My decisions to stand in the middle of the music hall has quickly turned into a bad decision once the mosh pit starts to form around. I dodge a few flying bodies and swinging fist as I slide to the back. I enjoy my new view of watching Daryl Palumbo soothe the room with his vocals and the videographer in front of his face. It’s pleasant seeing the crowd feed off of Glassjaw’s energy even if it is a crowded room of mostly sweaty guys throwing beers from all corners of the room. The band’s newer content resonates with fans enough to keep the pit going but leaves me feeling like Glassjaw isn’t the Glassjaw I’ve seen in year’s past. There are plenty of tour dates left, hopefully nostalgic Glassjaw fans aren’t eager to see the band’s older content.
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Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is a freelance writer, frequent concert attendee, and occasional Twitch streamer. He’s usually at the nearest taqueria or attending the concert of an artist he discovered while surfing the internet.