Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Thermals Melt My Face Off

Download: The Thermals - "St. Rosa And The Swallows" (via Indietastic)
Download: The Thermals - "No Culture Icons"
Download: The Thermals - "A Pillar Of Salt"
Download: Superhopper - "New Fresh Midwest"
Download: Reporter - "Green Death"

The illustrious, magnificent Portland-based rockers The Thermals were back in town again last night. And, once again, they melted my face off.

Superhopper opened up the show. I was pretty prepared to hate them, since they stalled their set, waiting for more people to show up, which I think is vain and silly, especially on a Monday night. But then they came out and were sweet and bubbly. And they played so well. The St Paul based pop-rockers pulled out all the stops in a half-hour non-stop blitz of rock passion. Very fun stuff.

I actually feel kind of bad for Reporter having to follow them. It was the groups 6th show ever and they were still obviously getting used to being in front of a crowd. They sounded fine, but kind of fell into the generic alt bin. There's a definite Modest Mouse influence to them on record, but that impact is greatly minimized live. They sounded good for only having 5 shows under their belt. I never would have noticed if they hadn't said anything. They were entertaining, but nothing to write home about.

And the Thermals. I've seen them three times, and this one was kind of middling. But still, middling for the Thermals is pretty awesome. They blitzed on through most of the new album, plus a smattering of crowd favorites from Fuckin' A and More Parts Per Million. And, they busted out the Built to Spill and the Wipers covers. It was a really strong setlist, I think, and captured a lot of aspects of their songwriting. Not to mention, Kathy did a killer Craig Finn impression that had everyone, especially Hutch, in gigglefits.

But the presentation of the songs was the show's weakest point. The Thermals have great rock songs, but to just push through them really downplayed their strength in melody and subtlety. It was still a phenomenal rock show and my face is going to take days to solidify, so I can't complain too hard.

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(April Wright)

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