December 12th, 2005
Official website for Gliss
As I walked in the door out of the crisp Los Angeles night air, I noticed obnoxious shiny Christmas decorations hung from the ceiling of the dark, pleasant dive bar, the Silverlake Lounge. An unidentified band played their songs on a small stage to a disinterested crowd. Above the stage, the word "Salvation" was spelled out in yellow lights. I walked up to the bar and ordered a Rolling Rock, but the bartender
misunderstood me and put down a rum and coke in front of me. I didn't correct him. I wolfed it down and soaked in the trendy atmosphere of the crowded bar. The band onstage, their lineup was weird; the drummer looked like he was 12, the guitar and bass player both looked too old to be in an opening band in a dive bar like this one, and a pretty lead singer, who, from where I stood, bore a vague resemblance to Maggie Gyllenhaal. The odd batch of musicians played a batch of songs that all sounded the same.
I wasn't here to see them or even to wolf down generous amounts of rum,
or to celebrate the birth of Jesus. My editor sent me to the Silverlake Lounge that evening to check out a well-liked local Los Angeles trio, Gliss, and plenty of people had decided to do the same thing. The Lounge was packed full of hipsters by the time Gliss stepped onstage. Consisting of a cute blonde, and two guys that look like they belong in the Strokes (that˜s how you know this band is "hip", evidently).
Gliss reminds me a bit of The Jesus and Mary Chain or Catherine Wheel and other such guitar-heavy British bands that most people at this show were too young to have heard of. In other words, lyrically and musically, Gliss isn't exactly doing anything earth-shattering, but still, I ended up digging them. Early on, their set was hampered by technical problems, but through their musicianship and the catchiness of their songs, the band overcame them nobly and put together a nice string of compellingly moody rock songs.
Members of the band kept the audience guessing by not only trading off vocal duties, but by trading instruments. The female drummer played bass the first couple of songs while the bass player played drums, later, the guitarist and the bassist traded off for a number. It gave the songs a vitality and a variety, and it revealed a bravado that most of today's rock bands sorely lack. It could be written off as a cheesy gimmick, but, after years of attending concerts, I'd never quite seen a band
pull something like this off before, and I definitely got a kick out of