Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Thermals Heat Up Maxwell's

Portland, Oregon's The Thermals rocked a sellout show at Maxwell's in Hoboken Friday night, August 10th, even sparking a minor mosh pit at a couple of points. (This can be a somewhat unsettling event in a small room that holds only a couple hundred people.)

The trio, which calls its music "post-pop-punk," put on a set of relentlessly loud, fast, catchy tunes, including "Here's Your Future, "A Stare Like Yours," and "Pillar of Salt." The band's Web site says "The Thermals are well known for their joyously punishing live shows," and after seeing them, it's hard to disagree.

The combination of Hutch Harris (guitar and vocals), Kathy Foster (bass), and Lorin Coleman (drums) make a wonderfully tuneful racket. While it's not always easy to catch what Harris is singing, there's often a sharp-edged commentary on the world and society. The band's Web site says that their latest full-length, "The Body, The Blood, The Machine" (produced by Brendan Canty of Fugazi), is about "a young couple who must flee a United States governed by fascist faux-Christians." A couple of times Harris held up his guitar to show the crowd a message pasted on it that seemed to say "This machine kills fascists" — the same phrase that Woody Guthrie had written on his folk guitar.

As a big fan of music podcasts, I must note that it was podcasts where I first heard of The Thermals and their music. The IndieFeed podcasts, which feature daily downloads of one free track accompanied by a bit of description about the artist, introduced me to "Here's Your Future," I heard "A Stare Like Yours" on the defunct Free Radio Sub Pop, and a video podcast I used to follow featured a live performance of "Pillar of Salt."

After their show at Maxwell's, The Thermals are playing to a much bigger crowd today at Brooklyn's McCarren Park Pool, on a bill with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. That show should pack in about five or six thousand people, and should win The Thermals some new fans.


Chris (IndieFeed) said...

Hey there

Chris from IndieFeed, and to complete the referrals, we learned of the band from an audio interview with the Decemberists who were talking about favorite local acts.

Cheers! C

Launchpad said...

Right, I still have the IndieFeed MP3 where that recommendation from the Decemberists was mentioned.