Hello there my little chickadees!
Welcome to the first of what will undoubtedly be a series of poorly received articles in which I will rant, rave and generally talk rubbish about a host of topics from the realms of film, music, video games and wrestling. Spoilers ahoy!
Initially I was going to make my first post about expectations (as in you should keep your’s low) and how they can colour our perception of a text. But after going to a Coheed & Cambria/Glassjaw concert last night I thought FUCK IT! Let’s talk about that instead.
Let’s start with the evening’s headliners and true stars. Everything about Coheed & Cambria’s performance was absolutely impeccable, from the first notes of set opener Island to roof raising renditions of Ten Speed and Welcome Home for the encore, everything was spotless.
Part of the allure of Coheed is the mystique with which they carry themselves, beautifully aided by smoke machines and a trippy light show they seemed every bit the classic image of ‘rock stars’: seemingly untouchable, God-like figures, ripping up the stage and melting faces. Every word sang from front man Claudio Sanchez’s mouth was screamed back at him from a house that was definitely rocked. When he pulled out his twin-neck SG and played a guitar solo with his teeth I think just about every known bodily fluid and a few undiscovered ones evacuated from my body all at once. In short, it was everything a rock show should be and a whole lot more.
And then there’s Glassjaw.
I’m not entirely sure how to put what I felt about Glassjaw’s set into words. Have you ever seen the Sarcastaball episode of South Park (s16 e 8)? In that episode, Randy Marsh, concerned over changes to the rules of American Football (that’s Rugby for pussies if you’re from my side of the pond) in schools ironically comes up with a new game in which players use a balloon instead of a ball, wear bras and instead of tackling players hug each other. He ends up sarcastically praising the quality of this new game until it spirals out of control and becomes America’s most popular sport. That’s kind of how I feel Glassjaw came to be.
Front man Daryl Palumbo wanders on stage looking like he forgot why we walked in the room and spends the next nut-crunchingly agonising hour wailing tunelessly, accompanied by a discordant guitar, a non existent bass and a set of drums that I can only assume stole the drummer’s girlfriend from the way he was treating it.
Maybe I’m being harsh. Music is a very personal, subjective thing and there were a lot of people in the venue who seemed to dig it, so hush my mouth I suppose. I just can’t quite shake the feeling that they’re taking the piss and have taken the joke too far to back out.
You know, I’ve enjoyed some modest success as a musician playing live, so on the off chance that they are actually legit I’ve prepared a short list of insider tips that I feel could help improve Glassjaw, or indeed any band:
- It often helps if all members of the band are playing the same song at the same time. I’m not entirely sure why I have to put this here, but goddammit Glassjaw, if there’s one thing you’ve proven to me it’s that sometimes I do indeed need to state the absolutely fucking obvious.
- Being able to play a million notes a second does NOT make you a good musician. This one isn’t so obvious, but trust me, it’s better to play simple tunes with harmonies and melodies than a complex song which is the aural equivalent of Hiroshima circa 1945.
- Try adding some actual “hooks” to your repertoire. Every good song, from pop to country to death metal, has a hook. It could be a groove, a guitar riff, a catchy melody, it doesn’t matter. If you were to try adding some hooks then maybe listeners would be able distinguish one 3 minute section of noise from another.
So that’s that. I feel we’ve all learned something today, and I certainly feel better for getting a few things off my chest.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to pour acid in my ears to get the horrible noises out of my head.