The So So Glos took over the house of God on March 22, rocking Judson Memorial Church as part of the 40 Years of Punk celebration.
The show, which was co-sponsored by NYU and the American Comparative Literature Association, commemorated the booking of the first punk bands at CBGB in 1974 and raised money for the Silent Barn, a punk rock venue in Brooklyn.
After sets from local bands Arm Candy and Household, the So So Glos took the stage — in this instance, a priest’s pulpit — and started preaching the gospel of punk. Although they were short one member — Mat Elkins and his collection of baseball caps were sorely missed — Titus Andronicus guitarist and Glos producer Adam Reich did a great job filling in on guitar, and the band barely missed a beat.
The Glos opened with “Son of an American,” making it immediately clear that it would not be a night for simply bobbing one’s head a few feet from the stage. Less than a minute into the set, the small crowd erupted into a sea of slam dancing.
From there, the Glos ran through the first couple tracks from their 2013 album “Blowout,” including “Diss Town,” “House of Glass” and “Lost Weekend,” thus getting the boring songs out of the way, as singer and bassist Alex Levine put it.
In keeping with the theme of the celebration, the Glos then covered Richard Hell’s “Love Comes in Spurts” and the Ramones’ “Chinese Rocks.” The covers were suitably sloppy, chaotic and a testament to the phrase “good enough for punk.”
However, the highlights of the show were the few tracks played from the first album, which recently made its way out of the band’s vault. After the covers, they played an explosive version of “Broken Mirror Baby,” during which they taught the audience the secret meaning of their name.
The Glos ended strong with “We Got the Days,” which devolved into a debauched celebration of all things punk. In the middle of the song, the Glos brought everything down to a whisper before building back up and eventually exploding into a righteous tirade against “magazine beauty, Ritalin junkies and social butterflies.”
At the end of the night, the So So Glos had reaffirmed that punk, though quickly entering middle age, is still immature, reckless and fun — just as the good lord intended.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 26 print edition. John Ambrosio is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Correction: A previous version of this article stated the So So Glos performed at NYU’s Judson Memorial Church. The church is independent of NYU.
WSN regrets the error.