November 16, 2010

Glassjaw @ Mario’s Pizzeria. 11/11 at 1.11pm for $11.11

Glassjaw are an elusive and now unsigned post-hardcore band from New York. Their last proper album was released in 2002 and since then they have played here and there, aired a few new tunes, performed in other groups and generally (intentionally or not) been enigmatic and secretive. This is probably the band that they always wanted to be.

Glassjaw’s recent state has turned their hardcore fans 51% rabid with anticipation and 49% creepy, so you can imagine the raucous response to an unexpectedly released a 7″ vinyl on 8th August (8/8) to coincide with a UK performance this year. A second release followed on 9th September (9/9) and a third on 10th October (10/10). These were unveiled through their official website and at low key concerts, selling out at an increasing pace each month. Every 7″ had the band’s ‘gj’ logo die-cut from the middle, meaning that they could only be played using a specially produced cardboard adaptor that had been sent to fans of the band in the months before 8/8 (which in itself had got the ball rolling on the speculation and expectation), or bought – in a sturdy-looking plastic form – again, through their online shop.

A month after each vinyl was issued, an MP3 version was put on sale on their site. In between releases, a one-take video version of a new song (not necessarily one from a vinyl release) was placed on vimeo to keep collective appetites suitably whettened.
It appeared that Glassjaw’s movements were becoming predictable, until this happened:

This poster appeared on the band’s official website in the days leading up to 11th November. It appeared that they were going to release their new 7″ single at a pizzeria in their hometown of Long Island, New York. 88 copies of the new 7″ single were present at the restaurant and were sold with a ‘Theglassjaw” pizza to the first 88 customers that knew what to ask for. What came as a bigger surprise to those attending was a message that was printed on the inside of the pizza box:

The address on the ticket is that of Glassjaw guitarist, Justin Beck’s humongo merchandising company Merchdirect. 88 fans turned up at 11.11pm and were let through to the band with their instruments. The first few through the door were handed Flip cameras and along with everyone else, had their phones and any potential recording equipment removed from them. The band then ran through a rendition of a new song, and a lucky fraction of the attendees became the directors of their – one would presume – upcoming, one-take music video.

This is perhaps the coolest thing I have seen a band do for a relatively small and exclusive group of fans that are as used to and excited by waiting as they are sick of it. The band have already announced a New Year concert on 1/1/11 which is set to be a big one (full LP/EP release perhaps?), and we have the matter of 12/12 also approaching. What other plastic treats will they serve up?