By Addie Whitlow, Features Editor — Most bands may struggle to exist for 25 years, but most bands aren’t Glass Hammer. A progressive rock group formed right here in Chattanooga, Glass Hammer has released 17 albums and performed countless shows over the course of 25 years, and they’ll be performing at The Camp House – their first show in two years – on Saturday, May 6.
The show will start at 7 p.m. with an opening performance from Sydney Heath. The band’s two founding members, Steve Babb, bassist, and Fred Schendel, keyboardist, will be performing with drummer Aaron Raulston, guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh and vocalist Susie Bogdanowicz.
Babb said that this show is going to be really special because they’ll be playing in front of friends, family, and many of the people who have visited their studio; they’ll be playing for a lot of faces they know.
However, Glass Hammer also has a special performance in store for this show: They’ll be playing their most recent album, Valkyrie, from start to finish.
“When we wrote the album, that was the plan back then, let’s do something we can do the whole album of. That’s about 65 minutes of the show,” Babb explained.
He also said that once they play the entirety of Valkyrie, they’ll be performing songs from their back catalog as well, in honor of their 25th anniversary.
“The neat thing is, if all goes well, we walk out and start the album, and we don’t talk, we just play the whole album,” explained Babb. “It’ll sound quite a lot like the album.”
Babb also said that unique aspect of this show is that they’ll be bringing in their own sound system. Because Glass Hammer is a pretty bass-heavy band (as most progressive rock groups are), he said it’s going to be cool to bring in their own setup.
“We’ve only ever played the Tivoli and Rhythm and Brews, so this is our first time at a new venue,” said Babb. “People have been telling me that [The Camp House] is the spot.”
After Glass Hammer performs in Chattanooga, they’ll be performing at a festival in Quebec at the end of May. Babb said that they’ll probably put on a similar show in Quebec, but this will be their first time actually playing an album from start to finish in front of a live audience. Babb said they almost did it once, with their album Lex Rex back in 2003, but they’re looking forward to trying it again with Valkyrie in 2017.
As far as upcoming shows go, Babb said that the Chattanooga and Quebec shows are it until the fall. They’ll be headlining in the Beruna Music Festival in Italy, and then, if all goes according to plan, they’ll also be headlining at ProgStock in New Jersey this October. They’ve also been invited back to Cruise to the Edge with progressive rock band Yes in 2018.
As far as the near future goes, Babb said he knows that there are still a lot of people who are curious about Glass Hammer, and he encourages anyone and everyone to attend their show on May 6; they might find something that inspires them
“We’re always trying to attempt things that are a little beyond us so it’s challenging for us, and, usually, the comments I hear from local musicians, if they come, they’ve never seen anything like it, they don’t know where to look because there’s so much stuff going on,” explained Babb. “Our live sound engineer says that, at the core, [we’re] still a rock band, but there’s clearly something a little more intense about it because this is not easy to do.”
Progressive rock bands are a rarity in this day and age, especially those that have lasted for as long as Glass Hammer has, so if you’re interested in seeing a truly stellar show, you definitely want to catch Glass Hammer before they head to Quebec.
The show starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. Tickets are only $15, and the show is all ages. To purchase tickets, visit gigcityproductions.com/concert-glass-hammer.
For more information about Glass Hammer, visit glasshammer.com.