Sunday night at Farmingdale, NY's The Downtown, Long Island's Glassjaw dropped by to play a relatively secret set smack in the middle of a cancer benefit (Rock Out For A Cure). With lead singer Daryl Palumbo stricken by Crohn's Disease and subsequently in out of the hospital, especially as of late, it was the band's first performance in the area since the New York City stop of Warped Tour 2003.
Opening was Rob & Mark, a two-piece "comedy" outfit who did some cheesy acoustic numbers about riding on the NYC subway and bands who sing nasally and have pogo parts in their songs. Following them was the Keep Aways, a three-piece with an awkwardly overzealous bassist and a generally awkward rock sound. They brought a member of local ska-punks ASOB to play guitar for the last song with the singer picking up the mic alone, and it was probably the best song, as it was a bit more genuinely intense and spastic the rest of the set, more in the vein of what would follow.
Up to this point, the Downtown continually refused to officially announce the band. Fears they would suddenly drop off due to Daryl's illness must've been running rampant, perhaps jokingly, since even while the band was setting up, the venue announced "and next, a very special guest." Upon setup completion, Daryl took the stage looking an awful lot like Cedric Bixler more than ever, aside from the hospital bracelet which remained on his wrist from his recent release. Considering the circumstances and the fact that it was more a warmup show than anything (in preparation of their support slot of the Used's show in NYC later this week), the band showed very little wear and tear, tearing through plenty old favorites and one select "new" one in "Natural Born Farmer," a song that was in fact played at the aforementioned Warped appearance. Palumbo looked rather frail but still managed to thrash about the stage and employ his trademark warble, the whites of his eyes continually shining as he bulged them open manically. He was rather upbeat too, making constant in jokes and shouts of "aiiiiight!" He even executed the racetrack segue in "The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports" amazingly, the vocal acrobatics of the track announcer simply on. Justin Beck handled both guitar parts wonderfully on his own, smiling plenty as he made the time changes and switched up the tones effortlessly. Palumbo also introduced what's apparently the current lineup, with Manuel Carrero back in the swing of things on bass, Beck on guitar, and the newest drummer whose name I didn't catch. Though they closed with "Siberian Kiss," continuous chants from the crowd essentially forced them to return for an encore, which came in the form of "Stuck Pig."
All in all, Glassjaw still has it. If they can manage to overcome the one huge, obvious struggle standing in their way, they very well could make a seriously huge impact in rock.
- Star Above My Bed
- Mü Empire
- Ape Dos Mil
- Natural Born Farmer
- The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
- Two Tabs of Mescaline
- Siberian Kiss
- Stuck Pig (encore)