The unusual pairing of Glassjaw & Quicksand at the Observatory OC proves to be fruitful for both bands



By Zach Bourque //

Glassjaw & Quicksand //
Observatory OC – Santa Ana, CA
July 20th, 2018 //

Last Friday, fans flocked to the Observatory OC for a night of legendary post-hardcore with Glassjaw and Quicksand co-headlining. The unusual pairing seemed odd on paper, but the more you look at the two side by side, the more you start to see their important similarities.

And though Quicksand reached peak popularity in the mid-90’s while Glassjaw’s rise came later during the mid-2000’s, both bands were trailblazers within the genre, with Quicksand virtually inventing it and Glassjaw redefining it.

Both outfits also hail from New York and were inspired by the local hardcore scene in their own unique ways, shaped largely by the music of their perspective times. While Quicksand took cues from the grunge scene, Glassjaw found inspiration in the emo scene that came to prominence in the 2000’s.

Glassjaw and Quicksand, furthermore, were in town fresh off the release of their newest LPs from 2017. Quicksand’s Interiors stands as arguably their finest record yet, marking 22 years since their last full-length effort. Glassjaw’s powerhouse return entitled Material Control, in the meantime, was released quietly and without fanfare but quickly built hype as one of the year’s best releases. For both acts, the albums were fantastic reminders of their own unique styles that remain unprecedented to this day.

What the groups didn’t share in common on this warm evening in Santa Ana, though, was a fan base. There was a very noticeable age gap between audience members, one that was felt the second you entered the parking lot. A crowd of late 20-somethings could be seen — and heard — tailgating and blasting Glassjaw while Quicksand got into their hour-and-a-half set around 8 p.m.

Inside the venue, unenthused Glassjaw fans lined the walls as they waited for the band’s 10 p.m. set time. It was certainly a disappointing sight considering how influential Quicksand were to the post-hardcore genre and because of how truly incredible their performance was when looking back at it.



Glassjaw and Quicksand have alternated headlining spots on this tour, and while Quicksand played first for this particular show, it didn’t seem to affect their spirits. The quartet sounded incredibly tight and full of energy. For every Glassjaw fan who was waiting it out with a beer, there were two Quicksand fans surrounding the packed stage.

Quicksand played an eclectic set from their catalog that spans nearly 30 years, including plenty of tracks off Interiors such as “Illuminant”. As the group kicked into their final few songs, vocalist/guitarist Walter Schreifels shouted “get ready to bang the fuck out of your heads,” and with that, the crowd immediately followed orders. Schreifels, toward the end, even took a seat behind the drum kit for a final jam session with Quicksand/Deftones bass player Sergio Vega.

As the sea of Glassjaw fans started to fill in the various levels of the Observatory’s floor, you could feel the room’s energy building. Everyone appeared to be pretty psyched for what they were about to witness. In general, few bands have as much of a passionate cult following as Glassjaw, and their two-year hiatus from 2004-2005 only increased the enthusiasm that was emanating from inside the venue. As lead vocalist Daryl Palumbo came out of the shadows and grabbed the mic, the floor erupted.

Glassjaw’s show covered their entire discography, and very few fan favorites were left off the setlist. While it was to be expected that newer tunes like “Shira” and “New White Extremity” would rock, it was staggering how well their older songs held up in a live setting. Palumbo’s voice, though slightly less manic than it once was, is still unmatched in its vocal range and shear intensity.

Older Glassjaw tracks like “Tip Your Bartender” and “Two Tabs of Mescaline”, meanwhile, sounded as sharp as ever. The instrumentation was similarly top-notch with bassist Travis Sykes serving as the catalyst for the group’s evolved sound on Material Control, which was released in December. But to close out their 17-song set, these Long Islanders delivered an explosive performance of “Siberian Kiss” from 2000’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence.

Having the chance to see Glassjaw and Quicksand share the stage is something that we’re likely never going to get again. And for those of us who drove down to Orange County from LA, we can only hope and pray to see more from both after what proved to be one hell of an experience for us.


Cut and Run
Tip Your Bartender
You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)
Pink Roses
Jesus Glue
Mu Empire
The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
New White Extremity
Strange Hours
Two Tabs of Mescaline
Bibleland 6
El Mark
My Conscience Weighs a Ton
Siberian Kiss


Freezing Process
Head to Wall
Brown Gargantuan
Warm and Low
Too Official
Thorn in My Side
Dine Alone
Landmine Spring
Jam (Sergio Vega on bass with Walter Schreifels on drums)

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