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Glassjaw - May 12, 2008 - Tripod, Dublin, IR

By: Ken McGrath

There’s been a bit of a buzz around town for this show, what with Glassjaw not having played in Dublin for what seems like donkey’s years and frontman Daryl Palumbo focusing most of his attention on his Head Automatica project. It’s a little disappointing then to see that there’s not a huge crush of fans trying to get in tonight, but then the €30 ticket price probably has a lot to do with that.

Before they take the stage though, we’re treated to a nice slab of gritty, dirty hardcore in the shape of Galway’s own underground favourites, Only Fumes & Corpses. They may go over the heads of the majority of the still rather small crowd, but they have got no problem filling the venue with sound and making full use of the stage. Latching onto those in the audience who get what they’re doing, they focus all their attention on delivering the best they can, so we get snappy, tightly delivered, belting songs about standing up for what you believe in and generally not putting up with shit from anyone. Nice one. A nasty punch in the face to the skinny jean wearing kids down the front with their carefully straightened hair, it’s back alley music all the way. There’s nothing pretty about it and while in real life they may be a long way from venues like this, Only Fumes & Corpses prove that they’re as capable in an uncommon situation as they are in a dive bar somewhere.

Then it’s time for the big boys. The stage is stripped almost bare, a drum kit off to the right, two amps way back and a big fuck off flag hanging down as a back drop they stroll on. Daryl Palumbo immediately shows what good form he’s in by happily chatting away to the crowd and lapping up the attention (he’ll later rip the piss out of the audience and before Glassjaw finish up, announce that he’s got to run off stage to the use the toilet).

Once they dive into things, it’s a heady, unforgettable mix of looping guitar lines, big riffs, choppy drum patterns and some seriously locked-in bass lines. Over all of this, Palumbo sings and dances his ass off. Amazingly energetic, the frontman leaps and bounds, swirls and twirls, crawls and swings his way around the stage, while his longstanding partner in crime, guitarist Justin Beck seems happy to remain out of the limelight, his face hidden beneath his long-peaked cap. Drummer Durijah Lang and bassist Manuel Carrero also seem content to stick to the peripheries. It’s no wonder they do this though, as anytime anyone who wanders anywhere near the centre of the stage gets swept up in the tornado that is Palumbo. Carrero does a few times and he gets groped and rubbed up against and generally suckered into the swirl.

Classic tracks like “Mu Empire,” the crunching “Pretty Lush,” “Lovebites And Razorlines” (excellent) and “Cosmopolitan Bloodloss” are unsurprisingly all still great, although it’s “Siberian Kiss” that really delivers an absolute kicking. High octane all the way; the one thing you’ve got to wonder is how Palumbo pulls that immense voice out of himself. It’s like he’s a funnel to somewhere else, his mouth opening, skinny body bent over, or pulled forward, releasing screams, actual proper singing and sheer, schizophrenic rasps and clicks.

This may be the last show of an extensive four-day tour but hopefully they won’t wait so long before coming back again. Then again, there is probably a reason why shows like this one don’t roll around all that often. A great night, too bad that Tripod was only about half full. Glassjaw certainly seemed to enjoy it though, and you can’t fake emotions like that.


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