Thursday rock UCH: No Theatrics, No Backdrops, No Gimmicks, No Joke
Post-hardcore underground legends Thursday came to rock Upstate Concert hall on Friday, April 28th, and reminded us ALL in the crowd why they are the legends they are, and what it's like to just rock. On a stage with NO theatrics, NO choreographed moves or stage dives, NO costumes, and even NO backdrop (as mentioned to the crowd by vocalist Geoff Rickly, the ceiling was too low for the band's simple backdrop of their classic 'dove' logo), Thursday performed a vibrantly heavy, energetic set in front of an equally energetic, crowd-surfing, and moshing crowd.
The band, formed in the late 1990's, can't fully be called underground, as they have had their share of 'chart success,' with album hits in the early 2000's. However, they formed (and erupted) at a time that was hugely influential to a large portion of heavy rock bands succeeding them, and are credited by many that I speak to for the 'emo scream' sound that took over rock in the early 2000s. In fact, I found myself in the crowd at Upstate Concert hall, standing next to another currently-popular rock musician (there as a spectator), with our discussion surrounding how Thursday was "the band" that made his age demographic fall in love with heavy rock music.
After the initial opener, Cities Aviv, the line-up was a rock line-up with a sound similar to something that I would have gone to see in the 2000-2004 time period. With all of the bands having minimal stage production, I was transported back to the days of going to basement shows with multiple rock bands on their way up, just happy to play, bringing nothing but passion- except this time they all had a seasoned, experienced sound. Frankly, it was refreshing.
Basement, a British rock band, brought a set full of songs reminiscent to the the sound of early Weezer mixed with Jimmy Eat World, The Pixies, and Radiohead. Signed to the record label Fueled by Ramen [All Time Low, Paramore, Twenty One Pilots], Basement shocked me with a set that showed experience, passion, and honestly made me feel a little bit of nostalgia for the rock sounds that I grew up with. The band seemed to pay homage to that as well, with a band member rocking a worn vintage Green Day T-shirt and another in a very Weezer-ish button up plaid long-sleeve. I hadn't heard of the band prior to the show, but I have definitely been won over as a fan.
Touche' Amore', another post-hardcore style band, came after Basement, bringing more of the genuine rock nature to the stage. I watched a portion of this set from backstage, and it was amazing to look out into the crowd and watch the reaction to the music and the building energy.
By the time Thursday came on stage, crowd-goers lost it. For many in the crowd that I spoke with, seeing the show was a chance to relive the emotions and the revive the love of rock that they felt growing up. People weren't entitled being in the crowd. They were honored to be in the presence of such a band. There was a sense of respect. I heard crowd-goers (who were clearly drummers) talk about how drummer Tucker Rule was the reason they wanted to play. Others awed at his all-copper (actual copper, not the color) drum set. For the most part, the entire front section of the crowd just moshed and enjoyed. People were crowd-surfing in desperation to get closer to band members on the stage, and others threw their hands up in the air and screamed along to songs they grew up with. Thursday as a band acknowledged this, with vocalist Geoff Rickly joking to the crowd about how it's good they liked Thursday's "old stuff...because that's all we've got."
It's been awhile since I found myself surrounded by people jumping up and down, screaming, and moshing in an abandoned building or someone's random basement, with the focus on nothing but the music- but that's exactly what this show felt like. It was a great night of rock, an AMAZING live concert, and a hell of a trip down memory lane.