LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – It’s 11:00 pm on a Thursday night when I get to The Smell — a venue whose tone is truly set by its name — and a handful of kids are milling around out front, smoking and looking at their shoes. They’re here, like me, to see The So So Glos, a young upstart punk band out of Brooklyn…and a refreshing break from Southern California.
While Los Angeles is the place for scenes, more often than not, it’s more show than anything else. So it was with some surprise that I discovered this little haven of earnest punk. Of course, all of this itself could have been just a mere scene — a weird manifestation of the DIY ethic and the fashion and the style and the attitude, were it not for the music.
The So So Glos — brothers Alex (vocals/bass) and Ryan Levine (guitar), step-brother Zach Staggers (drums), and Matt Elkin (guitar) — have been garnering praise from independent outlets all the way up to The New York Times, and after an evening of listening to them, it feels justified: Alex channels just enough Joe Strummer to keep The Clash comparisons accurate while keeping things fresh; the band has an uptempo, bright sound that belies the dark subtext of their songs (with titles such as “There’s A War,” “Isn’t It A Shame,” and “Execution”); and they’re just plain fun to listen to.
Really what propels the band most into the hearts of fans is the energy: if the music alone doesn’t get you, Levine’s blend of charm, candor, and enthusiasm is simply too strong a force to resist. The group has that perfect blend of presence, catchy riffs, and a level of engagement with the audience that make for a solid live show. The audience, for its part, couldn’t get enough, and I spent a good part of the show being jostled around by a crowd that was clamoring for more.
It’s really no surprise that the band was voted Best Local Band in NYC, and with a string of dates scattered across the states over the next two months, here’s your chance to experience them for yourself.
For exact dates and locations, please check out the band’s MySpace page.