The So So Glos
The So So Glos were outshined by their opening acts due to their so-so performance, pun intended. Each band leading up to the headliners seemed to be getting better and better which made the anticipation for the Glos even greater; sadly their mediocre sound and generic writing style lets us down.
Though the crowd was rather small, never reaching more than 40 people, the vibrant energy from each band radiated across the room. Huntington Beach locals, Badlnds, were the first to perform, setting an upbeat and cool vibe with their indie-surf sound. There were some swaying and nodding in the audience; however, when King Shelter went on after afterwards, the show went in a much more exuberant direction. Their enthusiasm was virtually palpable.
King Shelter’s lead singer/rhythm guitarist, Kurtis Gibson, showed off his character not only through his appearance and powerful vocals, but through his instrument as well. Gibson’s hair, which stuck out in every which way, was emulated by his guitar whose broken strings did the exact same. The lead guitarist, David Noble, had an elaborate pedal board which he used to its full potential, experimenting with dozens of sounds and tones. The bass of John Harzan was thunderous. Throughout their performance, Gibson, Noble, and Harzan were jumping, dancing, playing shoulder to shoulder, and eventually Gibson climbed onto the drummer’s bass drum and finished the song straddling the drum and the bass amp. Their dynamic writing style and catchy riffs were jokingly dubbed “Salad Rock”, a spoof genre inspired by Mac Demarco’s album, Salad Days. By the end of the night, King Shelter clearly made the most substantial impression on the audience.
Direct support for the headliners came courtesy of Canadian band The Dirty Nil. The crowd was quite turned off by the band the moment they got on stage. David Nardi, their bassist, obnoxiously screamed “MIC CHECK” at the top of his lungs about 10 times, laughing in between each interval. Good thing their talent was able to redeem Nardi’s sophomore antics. Luke Bentham, the lead singer/lead guitar player, put on an absolutely animated, powerful, Freddie Mercury-esque performance. Nardi blew big pink bubbles with his gum in between verses. His head banging and yelling into the mic caused the audience to occasionally get splashed with sweat and spit. When we asked if The Dirty Nil also defined their sound as “Salad Rock”, his response didn’t require much dressing up. “Nah, we’re just rock n roll.”
Although The Glos’ sound couldn’t compete with the previous bands, their vitality and great stage presence ended the night as though it were just getting started. By the time they took stage around 11 p.m., there were only about 20 people left in the crowd. However, for the first time during the entire show, those who stayed for the end were actually dancing! No, not just nodding or swaying—but genuinely getting down. By the end of their set, The Dirty Nil joined The So So Glos on stage, rocking side to side, arm in arm, singing and playing “Chinese Rocks” by proto punk legend/guitarist Johnny Thunders. Even in a nearly empty room, these two bands were clearly having fun and living the dream of rockstars on tour. In the case of the So-So Glows, their personality was the one thing that actually did warrant the spotlight.