w/ Touché Amoré, Basement, Wax Idols
The UC Theatre
April 12, 2017
"I was about to say, 'we're gonna play some old shit tonight,' but ALL of our shit is old at this point!" vocalist Geoff Rickley says amidst a chorus of cheers and applause from the excited Berkeley crowd as post-hardcore outfit Thursday launch into "The Other Side of the Crash". Thursday are a band that play with the spirit of a hardcore act, yet there's such a melodic side to their sound that they fall into this weird category that lies in the middle of various genres on a Venn diagram.
Thursday headlined The UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA last Wednesday evening, and packed the venue with a vibrant lineup that featured the likes of goth-pop up-and-comers Wax Idols, UK punk rockers Basement, and post-hardcore showstoppers Touché Amoré. All four bands provided for excellent crowdsurfing and moshing conditions, as fans flew over the barricades throughout the duration of the show in excitement (with Basement having the largest number of crowd-surfers, to the point that the photographers had to be escorted out of the photo pit before the end of the allotted three songs).
Wax Idols' were an act I had never heard of before this tour, and I found their set to be quite entertaining. Their Facebook page lists their genre in the band's bio as "80's infused goth-pop". It really sounds like it reads, as front-woman Hether Fortune croons soulful pop-like vocals over gothic, almost new-wave-like instrumentals. Fortune is charismatic, visibly giving herself over to the music as she moves around the stage, while the band (Rachel Travers, Peter Lightning, Marisa Prietto) play on and give it everything they've got to bring their sound to life.
Basement's set proved to be an incredibly fun portion of the night. The UK act (who came off of hiatus in 2014) mixed melodic vocals with hardcore punk stylings that set the scene as fans tumbled over the barricade, hoping to get a high five from vocalist Andrew Fisher. The five-piece band powered through material from their collective catalogue, most notably featuring songs from 2016's Promise Everything, which was released last year under their new label, Fueled By Ramen. Basement isn't a band that would strike you as a major-label act, but it's clearly worked in their favor. They're killing it, and their sound is as striking as ever.
The clear fan favorite of the evening was Touché Amoré. I have heard about this band for years. Friends and fellow concertgoers have waxed poetic about Touché Amoré since they first came onto the scene. You know how people talk about something so much that you almost want to not like it just to irritate them? That's kind of how I felt going in to watch their set. The verdict: they're a really fucking good band. They're riding high on the momentum from Stage Four, their Epitaph Records debut (fourth studio album overall) which hit stores this past September, and you can feel the energy in every single note they play or scream. With a band like Basement mixing hardcore music with melody, think of Touché Amoré as doing the inverse. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm screams poetic lines over melodic-punk instrumentation. It's trippy to listen to, and crazier to watch an entire crowd feed off of every single moment that the band deliver to them. While I don't know if I would gravitate towards pulling their music up on my iPhone all the time, I will sure as hell make it a point to watch their live show whenever I can. It's a sight to behold.
Thursday took the stage to close out the evening, and I found this to be a very fitting conclusion to the evening. Each act throughout the night showcased a various stage of post-hardcore music, all unique in their own way. One thing that every band had in common throughout the evening was that Thursday was a band that played a pivotal role in their formative years as musicians. When you think post-hardcore, I can guarantee you that nine out of ten people would name Thursday as a pioneer of the genre They haven't released a new record in a number of years (their last being No Devolución in 2011), and it seemed like their 2011 breakup was for good. It's a good thing they decided to reunite back in 2016 and move forward with a tour. While I'm sure that many would be happy hearing another record of brand new material, it was incredibly clear that Thursday fans are perfectly okay with heading into a dark concert hall, moshing frantically, and screaming the words back to their favorite songs.
For the Workforce, Drowning
The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (Of Control)
Cross Out the Eyes
Beyond the Visible Spectrum
Autobiography of a Nation
A Hole in the World
Signals Over the Air
Jet Black New Year
This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb
Understanding in a Car Crash
War All the Time