Underoath / Thursday - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Underoath / Thursday

live in New York (2011)

live show

I was told that A Skylit Drive had been playing first on every night of this tour. It seemed strange, given that the band has been around longer and has an arguably larger following than the tour's other support act, instrumental metal trio Animals as Leaders. But ASD plays a brand of high-pitched sing/scream/breakdown swoop-haired rock that does not sit well with me, so I didn't mind arriving to this show at Terminal 5 last week fashionably late. Lo and behold, Animals as Leaders were up first on this show and already into their set when my friend and I entered. GREAT. I was actually looking forward to them, and they didn't disappoint, playing an approvable blend of instrumetal, prog and...beatdown? (The one dude moshing to AaL's "breakdowns" like he was watching Shattered Realm seemed to think so, anyway.) They reminded me of a cross between And So I Watch You from Afar and Russian Circles, but not nearly as energetic as either of those bands live. In fact, they really just stood there, but it's something I suppose could be forgiven given how riffy and complex their songs were. The wildly animated LCD screens that flanked them made up for it somewhat.

Then A Skylit Drive played. I tried not to pay much attention. It was often cringeworthy. A greater space opened up for kids to do their usual flailing moves, but it was just pretty embarrassing for themselves too.

One of the last times I saw Thursday was a Full Collapse show as well. And that show took place at a 550-capacity venue with no barricade (as opposed to Terminal 5's three levels and room for 3000 people). So, sure, this felt a little redundant, and I certainly wouldn't have minded a more career-spanning set with more than one new song from their anticipated full-length, No Devolución. But I won't deny that Full Collapse is a pretty important album to me, and it's got a thematic and certain flow about it that makes it timeless and unexplainably engaging. So it was still a pretty great time, and the band played it nicely. There was a strange feel to the guitar tones and overall presentation, but I'd probably just chalk that up to T5's occasionally weird sound system. The crowd was surprisingly tolerable, save wildly inconsiderate push-mosh for "Turnpike Divides", a heaving and slightly eerie finish to the set that served as the sole preview from the aforementioned No Devolución.

Set list (9:00-9:49):

  1. A0001 [over PA] / Understanding in a Car Crash
  2. Concealer
  3. Autobiography of a Nation
  4. A Hole in the World
  5. Cross Out the Eyes
  6. Paris in Flames
  7. I Am the Killer
  8. Standing on the Edge of Summer
  9. Wind-Up
  10. How Long Is the Night? / I1100
  11. Turnpike Divides

It's safe to say about half the crowd left at this point, but I have a soft spot for Underoath given my younger self's fondness for the post-Taking Back Sunday melodies of 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety and the interestingly progressive, heavier albums that would follow. So, I stayed. Anyway, live? Say what you will about the band, but they put on a helluva show. It just had this crushing, booming vibe, between their massive yet somehow modest stage presence (guitarist Tim McTague has this awkward hunch when he's sneering backup vocals) and a projection screen playing all sorts of–admittedly, occasionally trying-too-hard art shlock–videos behind them.

The floor opened up unnecessarily spaced out, but that just gave me a chance to get a closer vantage point where I knew that obnoxious, amateur karate would still be limited to a small radius (I was right). I was able to watch the band play a fair-enough mix of tracks spanning Underoath's last four albums, from the more "screamo" melodies of Safety tracks "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door" and "A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White" (which the band basically told the crowd straight-up they were playing for them) to the awesome, mammoth slow burn of "Paper Lung" (from the recent Ø (Disambiguation)). Safety still got the biggest responses, as did a number or two from 2006's Define the Great Line (encore closer and single "Writing on the Walls", certainly). Clichés were limited, thankfully (Chamberlain's T-Rex limp wrist...seriously, what's with this?).

Set list (10:25-11:17):
  1. In Regards to Self
  2. Breathing in a New Mentality
  3. In Division
  4. It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door
  5. The Created Void
  6. Catch Myself Catching Myself
  7. Paper Lung
  8. A Divine Eradication
  9. Moving for the Sake of Motion
  10. To Whom It May Concern
  11. A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White
  12. Who Will Guard the Guardians?
    Encore (11:20-11:30):
  13. Desolate Earth :: The End Is Here
  14. Illuminator
  15. Writing on the Walls