Show Review: G.L.O.S.S. At The Velvet Underground

By Grace Guimond, Feature Photo via Chart Attack

G.L.O.S.S.—an acronym for “Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit”—are a four-piece from Olympia, Washington. They are also one of the most talked about bands in the DIY hardcore punk scene over the past year and a half. In twenty months, they’ve released their demo—which exploded onto the DIY scene essentially overnight—garnered mainstream visibility when shitgazers Whirr went on a transphobic Twitter tirade about them (and were subsequently dropped by two of their record labels), released their second EP, Trans Day Of Revenge, a day after the Orlando Pulse nightclub terrorist attack, got offered a $50,000 deal by Epitaph Records, turned it down, were offered a $15,000 deal by Fat Wreck Chords (owned by Fat Mike from NOFX), and shortly thereafter announced their impending break after two final shows: an as-of-yet unannounced goodbye show in their hometown and an already-schedule Not Dead Yet show in Toronto.

Not Dead Yet Fest is a DIY punk festival that happens every year in Toronto. This year’s participating venues included The Velvet Underground, Coalition, The Silver Dollar Room, D-Beatstro, and Soybomb, with 80 bands spread over four days. I was lucky enough to grab tickets to NDY Gig #8—featuring Gazm, Firewalker, Lock, Turnstile, and G.L.O.S.S—before they announced the split; all remaining ones got pretty much immediately snatched.

Gazm and Turnstile were great. I’d never heard of Firewalker, but looking up their Bandcamp became my main mission post-gig. G.L.O.S.S were fucking incredible. Opening with the now-epochal:

“THEY TOLD US WE WERE GIRLS/HOW WE TALK, DRESS, LOOK, AND CRY/THEY TOLD US WE WERE GIRLS/SO WE CLAIMED OUR FEMALE LIVES/NOW THEY TELL US WE AREN’T GIRLS/OUR FEMININITY DOESN’T FIT/WE’RE FUCKING FUTURE GIRLS LIVING OUTSIDE SOCIETY’S SHIT!”

before proceeding to rip through the next fifteen minutes so hard that any corny adjective—i.e they fucking rocked—is almost inappropriate. Intensely political and full of rage, love, and solidarity, G.L.O.S.S’s songs are a rallying cry for femmes, queers, outcasts, freaks, and anyone who’s ever felt left out of a hardcore scene dominated by straight cis white men.

G.L.O.S.S’s breakup sucks. But it’s also a good thing, with them talking openly about the unhealthy impacts their current visibility level had on them and the inevitable pedestalization/demonization imposed by the mainstream onto a queer punk band making music for other queer punks. In frontwoman Sadie Switchblade’s break-up letter, she wrote, “The punk we care about isn’t supposed to be about getting big or becoming famous, it’s supposed to be about challenging ourselves and each other to be better people.” However short the run, their impact on the DIY hardcore scene has been, and will continue to be, immeasurable. I’m just grateful I got to experience even the tiniest part of it. The freaks will never stop coming.

*music begins at 4:00*

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