Eight years ago, Thursday issued Full Collapse on Victory Records. The sing-scream-sing/soft-heavy-soft formula wasn’t new to underground music in 2001, and Thursday didn’t invent a genre, but the band’s near-perfect execution on Full Collapse and its widespread distribution through the Chicago record label caused an immeasurable impact on underground rock for the next decade, with hundreds of bands forming in basements across the country, each with their own take on the Full Collapse sound. Drawing on a spectrum of influences (from Joy Division to Lifetime), Full Collapse proved that it didn’t take a great singer (vocalist Geoff Rickly struggled to remain in key for most of the record) or incredibly complex song structures to create an astounding album. To celebrate Full Collapse Thursday grabbed newly reformed Far and local act Midnight Masses and headed to the Lower East Side’s Bowery Ballroom.
Midnight Masses opened the evening with a harmonious, acoustic chant before reaching for their instruments. An incredibly talented New York collective lead by Autry Fulbright (Dragons of Zynth, Shock Cinema), the band’s take on indie and soul sounded great across their nine song setlist. Each of the six members provided vocal harmonies, providing a luscious sonic blast that was both soothing and readily inspiring. Clearly drawing influence from acts like Nick Cave and Nina Simone, the band’s soulful, Gospel-eque sound was delightful; the full set can be found below. The band is set to release Rapture Ready, I Gazed At The Body EP in mid-November.
Sound of Sirens
Walk on Water
I Was a Desperate Man
Far performed next, their first show in New York City in nearly a decade. Fronted by the legendary forty-year old Jonah Matrangra (Onelinedrawing, New End Original, Gratitude), Far’s blend of drop-D distortion and non-stop energy was warmly received by a crowd all too eager to hear singalongs like “Man Overboard” and “Bury White”. In fact, much of the band’s set came from Water & Solutions, with Far playing nine of the album’s twelve tracks. “Job’s Eye” and “In the Aisle, Yelling” were welcomed throwbacks that found the band digging into their 1996 major label debut, Tin Cans With Strings To You.
For “Mother Mary”, Thursday’s Geoff Rickly joined Matranga to provide additional vocals; just five years earlier, Thursday performed a cover of the song at Hellfest, with Matranga providing guest vocals on the track. “The System” finished the band’s explosive set; the full list below:
Wear It So Well
I Like It
Water & Solutions
In the Aisle, Yelling
Waiting for Sunday
The soothing melody of “A0001” and it’s brief, repeating lyrics (“We’ll all look the same someday, and even now the robot starts to think–I wonder what it dreams.”) filled Bowery Ballroom as Thursday walked on stage, finding the entire room in applause. It was time for the veteran New Jersey six-piece to perform Full Collapse–an album written by a young band still wet behind the ears.
Drummer Tucker Rule kicked off “Understanding in a Car Crash” with quick drum patter, joined immediately by the winding melodies of guitarists Steve Pedulla and Tom Keeley. Fairly uncommon “Concealer” followed, with keyboardist Andrew Everding providing Rickly with supporting vocals. “Autobiography of a Nation” was especially powerful, with the crowd exploding in unison at the song’s introductory climax: “Write these word’s back down!”
The first of three truly rare songs came next in the form of an excellent performance of “A Hole in the World”. “Cross Out the Eyes” and “Paris in Flames” receive solid treatment; “I am the Killer” was the night’s most emotional effort. The second in the trio of rarities was “Standing on the Edge of Summer”, a beautiful track about Rickly’s final days with his grandmother. Frank Giokas, credited in the Full Collapse liner notes for the guitar on the song, temporarily replaced Pedulla for the effort.
“We’ve come to the point of the album with the first song that really sucks,” said Rickly, introducing the third and final rare song, “Wind-Up”. He continued to talk about the track, stating that it was written for their debut Waiting but considered too weak of a song; it ended up on Full Collapse, Rickly recounted with a wide grin.
“How Long is the Night”, a story about Rickly’s struggle with insomnia, finished the Full Collapse portion of the evening with a bang. Possibly the album’s strongest moment, the song also epitomizes the band’s sound in 2001, a fitting end to the record. “i1100” played through the PA as the band walked off stage.
“The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (Of Control)” kicked off the encore, and it became clear that bassist Tim Payne was enjoying the more complicated song structures of their material. Three Common Existence cuts followed beginning with “Beyond the Visible Spectrum”. The band offered a vote between lead-single “Resuscitation of a Dead Man” and should-be-single “Friends in the Armed Forces”, with the latter narrowly winning. “Circuits of Fever” was complemented with more than twenty giant balloons (last seen on the band’s Taste of Chaos tour) that continued to kick around for “Jet Black New Year”. “War All the Time” finished the evening. The full set:
Understanding in a Car Crash
Autobiography of a Nation
A Hole in the World
Cross Out the Eyes
Paris in Flames
I am the Killer
Standing on the Edge of Summer
How Long is the Night
The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (Of Control)
Beyond the Visible Spectrum
Friends in the Armed Forces
Circuits of Fever
Jet Black New Year
War All the Time
Thursday had been together (with some lineup changes) just a couple of years before releasing Full Collapse, an album that is largely a varied collection of power chords, simple octaves, drop-D tuning, and cranked distortion. The band has grown tremendously since album, but Full Collapse‘s lyrical beauty and stellar execution have allowed the album to age gracefully. In a live setting, few Thursday songs produce the immediacy and energy of Full Collapse‘s cuts, a testament to the record’s staying-power.
Thursday is set to tour briefly through the early part of the winter, culminating in a hometown holiday performance at the end of December in Sayreville, New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom. These annual holiday shows tend to bring out the best in the band, as they reach back into their catalog for older cuts and generally play their longest sets of the year. If the Full Collapse show was any indication, then the holiday show should be an incredible event not to be missed.
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