Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thursday



Yes, I meant to post this on a Thursday. Shut up.

The first time I heard Thursday, some emo/hardcore/Morrissey fan played some song off of "Full Collapse" for me... I think. I thought it was kind of heavy in a way I had never heard before, but it also had that anthemic punk/hardcore quality that makes so many kids go fucking ga-ga for them. What fascinated me most, though, was this intangible little resevoir of artsyness in the background of Thursday that I could barely hear. It was buried deep like hearing a cell phone or microwave radio transmission through a hissy amplifier you leave on accidentally-- as if signals were crossing a random, beautiful way. They were obviously art-faggy but I could tell it went deeper for the band than just an image, like with Tool. Some of my first thoughts about Thursday was that they were the Tool of emo. Now I know that's the Mars Volta.

Still, I've always had this strange listening relationship with Thursday.

The band's new record, "A City By the Light Divided," I should add, is good-- maybe deserving of the label "very good." A B+, perhaps. Many people are saying, not me necessarily, that its "the best record they've made so far." What all this means to me is this: Its the first Thursday record I can honestly say I'll be listening to more than once or twice within my day-to-day listening habits. I should also mention this band is destined (doomed?) to grow on me at a glacial pace. I cannot help it.

Most of the American public (read: middle-class, MySpace-trolling 15-24 year olds) became aware of Thursday in 2003 when they released "War All of the Time" (the band has a knack for making poignant, almost-overwrought, almost-confrontational record and song titles that straddle the political and personal). They got a video on MTV. They even got radio play in some major markets. The rising cabal of Friendsters and MySpacers were going nuts for their MP3s and tour stops. Thursday launched their most successful tour to-date with Coheed and Cambria (a stop, at which, I attended with some reluctance).

On this tour were two huge high school/college favorites. Coheed attracted the geeky side of the MySpace generation, Thursday the more confessional side. More was at work here than just this, however. Thursday, in a way that Coheed and other "emo" bands can't, bring many disparate kinds of people together. I-- a free-jazz and progressive rock nerd that also indulges in southern rock wearing a Joy Division t-shirt at that show, if that makes any sense to you-- was even drawn to Thursday's live show. Their lead singer, the tender, charismatic Geoff Rickley, was deathly ill that night, he told me. Before he told me, I noticed his energy was notably sapped. This is a man who has (unintentionally) bloodletted and fractured and/or broken his own bones on stage. The most he did that night in 2003 was throw up his microphone really high and catch it in the air as he was jumping. It's not too big a "whoopie" in comparison.

But Thursday's significance remains. Everyone in that venue (a usually super-corporate rock club) was riveted. Everyone young (gothy Hot Topic kids to emo high schoolers) and old (nerdy art-rock lovers and the more "mature" indie crowd) were there. Thursday, and this is perhaps true of Coheed and the Mars Volta, can bring together bands of Taking Back Sunday and Tool and no one's the worse for it.

Thursday, unlike Coheed or the Mars Volta, aims much higher. They want to be more mainstream, have a bigger audience and are probably the only emo band in the world with the potential to be a household name and have a career longer than ten years.

Thursday could be more than just an artsy alternative for the emo/hardcore set, they could be another brand of anthemic rock music, like a U2 for the emo set. I don't think that's at all an exaggeration.

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