Glasslands has gone through a few changes this year, the most notable being the removal of its “clouds” installation that dominated the stage. It looked brilliant in photographs but perhaps not so resplendent in real life; Night Rangers’ frontman John Reis remarked that it looked as though Paul Bunyan had just shot a mega load of spunk onto the ceiling (the reference was lost a little bit on this Brit at the time, but the point was universal).
The latest installation consists of clusters of lighted tubes, which are certainly more practical (and less of a fire hazard!) although they don’t give a massive amount of light onto the stage, so sometimes getting good pictures can be tricky if you don’t have a great camera (I’m nitpicking…), I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed to begin with but I have since warmed to them.
Another upgrade since the start of the year are the toilets, which used to consist of some kind of chaotic free-for-all setup with little privacy, now at least there are three seperate cubicles. Three?! Ambassador, with three cubicles you are spoiling us… (now I’ll lose you with a UK reference). They are, however, utterly generic and could use some posters or graffiti on the wall, maybe these things take time.
Yet another recent upgrade has been to the sound system which has turned the venue into one of the best sounding rooms in the city, with plenty of punch and clarity. Maybe not Mercury Lounge quality, and sometimes they push the levels a little too high, but they get it right most of the time.
There is a full bar which has draft options of Stella, Goose Island or Hoegaarden at $7 a pop (Goose Island for me out of that lot I guess), and a lesser-spotted cider should any farmers be in attendance… there are also a few cocktails available, including the wonderfully named Tequila Mockingbird and a couple of wine options, so a thumbs up for variety (even if my heart does sink every time I see someone drinking a bud).
Once inside the venue you’ll find one of the most relaxed atmospheres around, and that seems to come from staff and audience. I’ve never noticed anyone acting out of hand and needed to be ejected, or even crowd surfing, some people think shows are all about them and are pretty obnoxious and you have to keep your distance, but even the rowdiest crowds (King Khan & BBQ Show) seem to fall on the right side of social decency in my experience so far.
Sightlines are potentially complicated by a big pillar in the middle of the room but unless you turn up late to a packed show you should be able to work around it. Additional vantage points include an upstairs area which overhangs into the room, a potentially good spot if you’re otherwise going to be in for a rough ride. Below the balcony is a long bench (the only spot to sit downstairs). They also seem to have taken out the photobooth, which used to be by the stairs, though I’m not sure I ever saw anyone actually use it to be fair.
Glasslands has a capacity of around 300 and tickets can either be purchased online via ticketfly or on the door the night of the show, there is no physical box office and most shows are 21+, check tickets for door times though most shows are 8 or 8:30 (with the occasional late show in addition).
My favourite set at Glasslands so far was probably by Mrs Magician, who opened for Night Marchers, here’s a video I took of them playing the best song of 2012, There Is No God (which you can even download for free at their Bandcamp page, but you should buy the full record anyway as it is fantastic).
With a good sound, relaxed vibe, varied drink selection and distinct decor, Glasslands ticks all the right boxes. Check out our listings for upcoming shows.