In what I can only describe as the culmination of my teenage years (and I mean this in the best way), last week I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Glassjaw and The Used share a stage at NYC’s Terminal 5. From the moment this tour was announced I had been dreaming of this show– and all day I couldn’t sit still in anticipation. You have to understand, there are few artists out there that I go mad for consistently, and even fewer who I’ll support to the bitter end no matter the direction their music takes them; both Glassjaw and The Used are on that list. I am seldom one to miss The Used when they are in town– their energy and dedication on stage is unrivaled, and Bert McCracken represents the change I want to see in the world (more on that later), but the second they announced that they would be touring with Glassjaw… missing this show wasn’t an option.
Glassjaw, much like a Unicorn or Bigfoot, was always this myth in my life; they seemed quite elusive, making the occasional tour date or festival appearance a huge event. Meanwhile, with their last full album having been released 15 years ago, their resurgence of activities meant that their third LP could be on the horizon– even if it was still unobtainable, adding another veil of mystery to the group. So, in the belly of Terminal 5 I stood ready for the night of my dreams– and it is important to note that Glassjaw is from Long Island (meaning that this was the seminal band’s hometown show), because their fans made themselves known in mass numbers. Then, the lights dimmed and founding members Daryl Palumbo and Justin Beck took the stage along with semi-recent additions Travis Sykes and Chad Hasty, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy as they opened their set with “You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)“, from Our Color Green (The Singles). What has always attracted me to Glassjaw, is the balance they possess in their sound– they balance out intense, raging chords and screams with truly melodic and at times jazz inspired components. Glassjaw possesses a truly unique sound that shows a level of respect to music theory, and in conjunction with Daryl Palumbo’s vocal quality– there just isn’t anything like it. If you really want to hear what I’m talking about, listen to “All Good Junkies Go To Heaven” from the same release– it’s probably my favourite song of theirs with its sinister ambiance, and I WISH that they had played it live that night. In place of “All Good Junkies…” I did however get to see “Pretty Lush“, another favourite that I also recommend for a listen, especially to give you an idea of what these guys’ stage presence is like. It was absolutely amazing to finally see Glassjaw live after all of these years– and it was absolutely worth the wait; the band sounds AMAZING live as they provide the most intense set that leaves you mystified and exhilarated.
Next up was Babetalk (and one of my personal) favourites, The Used, and honestly I had no idea what to expect. The last time I had seen my favourite boys from Utah was about a year and a half ago during their 15th anniversary tour (amazing set of shows, and hey! our photo editor Sam covered them HERE), and to make things more complicated in my mind, their 7th album The Canyon had just been released not two weeks prior; so with a discography and image so extensive, what would they do? Well, where theres The Used, there’s a way, and from the time Bert McCracken grinned at the crowd at the top of the show with a certain look of wonder and pride, up until they exited the stage after their encore of the classic “Maybe Memories“, The Used delivered a flawless and unforgettable performance. From screaming my lungs out with everyone else during the monologue to “I’m a Fake“, to dancing along to a new favourite off of The Canyon, “Rise Up Lights“, The Used reminded me yet again why I’ve loved them for all of these years. As far as the setlist as a whole goes, the more alternative-indie songs from The Canyon fit wonderfully in the set, composed of older songs from just about every album released before 2009 (which is a SHAME because Artwork was beautifully crafted yet haunting, and “Iddy Biddy” is an underrated jam #justiceforArtwork #justiceforTheOceanofTheSky amiright?), and it made the evening truly a celebration of how far the band has come, and far they will continue to go. Speaking of which, let’s talk about our favourite frontman, Bert McCracken (s/o to his sickle and hammer shirt, sup comrade?); nothing could sum up the progression of the band better than when he spoke before diving headfirst into playing the emotional “About You (No Songs Left To Sing)“. To paraphrase, the Bert that we had known, the one that struggled with his demons all while bottling up his true emotions… well, he was gone; Bert had been replaced with Rob– a guy 5 years sober who could now comfortably express his emotions and come to terms with them. It sounded better when Bert said it, but the point still stands– The Used that we know in 2017 is a different band. They’re a band that now symbolizes change and growth, that promotes equality and justice for those who are marginalized, they’re a band who has fought their demons and is now fighting for something bigger– but aren’t afraid to celebrate their past. The Used, in my opinion, has become so much more than just the music that has affected us all; they’ve become a beacon for hope and a return to the political nature of rock. On that note, The Canyon isn’t the end, Bert, Jeph, Dan, and Justin aren’t done making noise– meaning we still get to experience what The Used has in store for the future– and I for one can’t wait.
Do yourself a favour and go see Glassjaw and The Used on tour. Their sets are so dynamic, and a tour like this is one we’ll be talking about for years to come. All dates are listed below, and if you haven’t already, listen to The Used‘s latest album, The Canyon, so you can sing along as loud as some of the fans at my show did to their newer songs.
Last modified: January 28, 2018