In case no one told you, don’t drive to Pomona from Santa Monica on a Friday night. I mean it’s more or less inadvisable to do so on any night given the distances and comical amount of traffic involved it’s just an outright terrible idea to be completely honest and nothing good will come of it. Well almost nothing good, unless you’re headed to a show at the Glass House that is, in which case you’ll likely to be treated to one of the best shows of your life and at Home Sick festival that’s exactly what you got.
As you may have predicted we didn’t get to this show on time. In fact we barely made it in time to catch Ceremony, which meant we missed Entry, Vowws and Full of Hell which is extremely saddening considering how much we love Full of Hell in particular but then again, I said you shouldn’t drive from Santa Monica to Pomona on a Friday and I meant it.
Delays aside, our evening kicked off with Ceremony. They started it off in a bit of strange manner, choosing to kick things off with a soft song, but it wasn’t long before they launched into the hits that made them famous, thrusting the crowd into a high gear almost immediately. At this point the Glass House was more packed than I had ever seen it, which speaks to both the appeal of Ceremony and the potential strength of punk music moving forward. As Ceremony moved through their set, it became clear that the singer and the guitarist (and eventual keytarist) were the standout performers onstage. The singer opted to launch himself into the crowd over and over, whipping the floor into a moshing frenzy, while the guitarists flamboyant outfit and aloof stage member made him an eye catching focal point on the stage. While most people had been here for a few hours, as far as we were concerned ceremony kicked off the event the right way.
Next to take the stage was Drab Majesty, a group that has long been tapping into the void left by Depeche Mode, and honestly filling it quite wonderfully. They quickly leaned into their ‘80s sound by sporting massive sunglasses and glistening white suits and capes, one person nearby described them as being part of “the wave” which, while I had no idea what that meant, felt rather fitting so I agreed. Performance wise they had a lot more going on than Ceremony did. The lights were tightly controlled, flicking between red and blue like a cop car hung upside down from the ceiling. Their music inspired less motion than that of Ceremony, but the crowd remained held in rapture as they moved through the synth heavy set. Of course the highlight of the show was when they played their hit single “Dot In The Sky” towards the end of their set, which most of the crowd seemed to recognize pretty quickly, creating a new wave of motion and dancing throughout their ranks.
Ultimately, no matter how good each act was, they would end up being compared to Joyce Manor, the group who inspired this evening of music, and who would be the ones to close it out. It was clear before they even took the stage that they were the primary draw of the evening causing the Glass House to nearly fill to bursting. The crowd reaction when they finally took the stage was thunderous, as if the entire building were experiencing a simultaneous religious epiphany. Where other bands teetered on being too heavy or too dour, Joyce Manor ensured that the evening ended on an upbeat note despite their often dark lyrics. Seemingly every audience member knew each word to almost every song, whether it was the opener “Beach Community” or “Heart Tattoo” the presence of dedicated fans helped to make the show a success for everyone there. The sound mixing on their set was notably superior to the previous two sets, most of the lyrics were clearly audible whether or not you had previously heard the track, and the guitars were just as jangly and delightful as they are on the album. While the Glass House is not tremendously accommodating of shows with a high production value the lights helped add to the party atmosphere and were perfectly synced with the pounding kick drum. Often times closers at long shows suffer from audience fatigue but Joyce Manor was far and away the highlight of the evening, leaving us all with an excellent memory of the show.
Long shows are an inherent risk. Most people just don’t care to stand around in the same place for six hours, and who can blame them, we’ve all got bad backs. Thankfully, Home Sick and The Glass House along with every performer created a worthwhile and memorable experience full of joy and excitement. In the end it really was worth driving from Santa Monica on a Friday night, but if you can see the show without doing that drive, I suggest you do that.