When I first heard Thursday was coming to Albany for the first time in years, I was beyond ecstatic. Not only were they due to play two nights after my birthday (which ironically was on Thursday), but the lineup was also pretty stellar. Minus the Bear and the Number Twelve Looks Like You. Fantastic. So fast-foward to April 29th, Saratoga Winners left wall and my jaw dropping when realizing that mewithoutYou and We.re All Broken were opening instead. No worries, though. The main reason I was there was to see Thursday. Having garnered the reputation of one of my favorite live bands ever, my expectiations were quite high.
The crowd at Winners was the usual mix of emo kids, metalheads, preps, punks, and big 20-something year old "tough guys" who think that pushing around a crowd of lanky kids ranging from their mid-to-late teens is cool. Before We.re All Broken came on, a man from the venue came on stage and asked how many kids there were below 16. A surprising number of hands shot up, as kids who looked like they still were in middle school dotted the crowd. Then he went on some sort of rant about how stupid crowd surfing was and why it was such a liability.
Finally, We.re All Broken opened up to some spoken words and weird ambient noises, then broke into a fairly high-paced and enjoyable set. I think the openining song was probably their strongest. Having never heard any of their music before, I was quite pleased. It sounded kind of like A Static Lullaby on ...And Don't Forget to Breathe. In other words, Glassjaw meets Underoath meets more screaming. Between each song they would utilize the spoken words and atmospheric noises to try and set an eerie tone. It worked for a while until their set began to drag towards the end. I remember the last song building up to a really weak breakdown. Luckily, they ended just in time.
mewithoutYou was up next. Apparently they had quite a solid fanbase, as about half of the crowd at the show seemed to respond, singing along to every word, while the other half stood there trying to figure out what the hell was going on. They sounded like At the Drive-In with more swirling guitars and vocals that aren't really singing as much as it's strained speaking/shouting. The combination tends to work well when mixed with some great layering of guitar and solid drum work. At times though, the vocals were also hard to get over. It was like being shouted at for 40 minutes straight. All in all, a pretty solid set for a band I'm still trying very hard to get into.
Then Thursday came on. Like I said, Thursday is one of my all-time favorite live bands. They always put on a very tight and solid performance with unrivaled intensity. There is a certain passion that comes with Thursday, and when they play live, it's present more then ever. They opened their set with the song that brought them to light in the first place -- "Understanding in a Car Crash." Of course, as soon as this happened, the entire crowd shifted and for roughly 4 minutes, it felt like you were trapped in a human blender. They follwed up by moving into another huge fan favorite, "Paris in Flames." The crowd was again very responsive, as I'm sure Full Collapse is probably everyone's favorite album. Without relying on too many songs from that CD, they went into "Division St." next. They covered a fair amount of songs from War All the Time with "For the Workforce, Drowning," "Signals Over the Air," and "This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb." They also bombarded the crowd with a slew of songs from their new album, A City by the Light Divided. If I can remember correctly, these included "The Other Side of the Crash," "Counting 5-4-3-2-1," "Sugar in the Sacrament," and "Running from the Rain" -- with the latter two being my new favorite songs on the album. Hardly anybody in the crowd seemed to have heard the full album (aside from the shitty myspace stream), so everyone kind of just stood there and seemed to enjoy the new material. They certainly didn't forget their old material either however as they covered, what I have termed, the "Thursday Triumvirate" -- consisting of "How Long Is the Night?," "Cross Out the Eyes," and of course everyone's favorite, "Jet Black New Year." Closing the set with the unforgettable "Autobiography of a Nation" provided perfect closure to a terrific show.
Their enthusiasm was still spectacular, even with Geoff reminding the crowd that he was partially sick and in recovery from when he coughed up blood and pieces of his throat only two weeks ago in Canada. The crowd was of course very generous and helped him out by trying to sing along as much as possible. By the end of the show, most of the crowd was exhausted and practically had no voice. My expectations were fulfilled to the brim, and fortunately enough we were able to escape Winners without any crazy cab drivers pulling out guns. True story.