The last four songs of The Thermals‘ setlist are a verbal reflection of the band’s onstage energy, which was huge at their show at the Market Hotel.
THURSDAY 04/28/16 – BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Through unmarked doors and up a winding staircase, the venue is small, with a bar in the back and a triangular stage up front. It’s a popular destination for indie groups and their fans, and The Thermals were well received, as proven by the mini-mosh pit that emerged halfway through the set. The Portland artists have a sound that is widely placed into the murky post-punk category, except they have a distinct pop element, both instrumentally and lyrically. Live, however, the band replaces that polish with physical, raw, spur-of-the-moment chemistry, taking full advantage of the stage and their time on it. Singer Hutch Harris crawls, cringes, and falls to his knees as necessary, while bassist Kathy Foster and drummer Westin Glass build a sonic wall behind him. The show had a high turnout for a small space, and the simple proximity of the audience to the band made for an intimate, no-frills performance; the music was the people’s and the people belonged to the music.
The Thermals are touring with two openers, Amanda X and Summer Cannibals, both of which brought Brooklyn all they had. The former, a three-piece from Philly, paired dream-infused vocals with simple and clear song structure, giving the audience something to sink their teeth into. Summer Cannibals followed with a slightly longer set, taking the stage, holding nothing back, and loving every second of it.
Bassist Jenny Logan provided the stable yet pounding backbone of the band’s sound along with drummer Devon Shirley, while a strong lead guitar echoed the vocal rush that brought it all together. The J train shaking the floors as it passed only added to the energy spiking the room.
Thursday’s show was, as a whole, an evening of post-punk at its finest, with three bands that share similar roots but grow three separate ways, all reaching that coveted connection with the audience. The Market Hotel trades the aloof nature of some of New York’s other rock venues in favor of a cohesive atmosphere where you go to take part in an honest display of emotion, both as a concertgoer and a performer. Both The Thermals and Summer Cannibals had an album out recently, and are taking their American tour West, finishing up in Los Angeles on May 19th.