Cherry Glazerr (photo: Kaiya Gordon)
Cherry Glazerr is a rock band. They are skilled, and they rock hard. Independent of their youthful fan-base, their sometimes kitschy lyrics, and (well-placed) critiques of the band as a vehicle for white feminism, Cherry Glazerr’s unique and energetic approach to punk rock makes for an incredible concert experience. But Cherry Glazerr’s talent onstage is often missed, passed over by press people and wary listeners who focus, instead, on superficial aspects of the band.
At Santa Cruz’s Catalyst Club on February 12, there were no wary listeners. The night started off with Santa Cruz locals, Sundried, who were met with familiar cheers from the crowd. Slow Hollows, a four-piece from Los Angeles, followed suit, and surprised me with their clean and clear performance. But it was clear — from the number of concert tees alone — that the club was filled with Cherry Glazerr fans. As the night came closer to the headline set, people packed into the front of The Catalyst, squeezing for a place near the front of the stage; and, as it turned out, at the center of a mosh pit. Some of the younger concert-goers were surprised by the aggressive movement of the crowd, which, quite frankly, I found endearing. For others, it was clearly not their first Cherry Glazerr show, and they moshed and yelled with abandon.
There were times I was uncomfortable. I didn’t feel great about the number of “pussy grabs back shirts” (which, along with being trans-exclusive at best, impact assault survivors by filling up purportedly “feminist” spaces with triggering language), or the lack of safety measures for listeners who may have wished for a more stable, less stimulating spot to view the show from. But it was fun to be in a pit filled with women and femmes, and I loved the lack of pretense and gravity in the crowd.
Since their first album, “Haxel Princess,” was released in 2014, Cherry Glazerr has updated their entire lineup. The result is a band which is tighter, more creative, and less reliant on singer Clementine Creevy’s charisma. Drummer Tabor Allen adds depth to the trio’s sound onstage, and syth player Sasami Ashworth is arguably even more fun to watch than Creevy. They’re a no-nonsense trio: Ashworth showed up to the Catalyst in crocs, and there were no tricks onstage. But they give their all, and match the frenzied crowd in energy and drive.
Yes: “teenage girls” can be naive — and sometimes destructive — in their politics. But they are also a force to be reckoned with. At The Catalyst last Sunday, surrounded by exuberant fans, reckless in their joy, I bought in to Cherry Glazerr, and bought in hard. It’s easy to critique and undervalue art based on an exterior perspective. But what isn’t easy is what Cherry Glazerr does, night after night: fill a room with lightness and energy; with rolling syths and piercing guitar; with buoyant punk rock.