I got off the Red Line and ran down the street to Lincoln Hall, walking in while JR Slayer was mid-set. I had done a ton of research before this run of Thursday shows, but I absolutely could not figure out who would be opening them. JR did a pretty good Eliot Smith cover and when he finished, said he would “like to thank Thursday for the opportunity to open these shows, you know, when I met them back in Seattle opening for them with The Blood Brothers…” Oh. That’s who this is. Cool. He played a pretty serviceable set, entertaining the already rowdy crowd with his acoustic jams.
JR Slayer left the stage and I remained in place, standing dead center in the middle of the room. While the road dogs set up the stage, I had some time to reflect on my personal history with Thursday. I had missed both of the Full Collapse shows, which I was sort of bummed about. But I really didn’t get into Thursday until War All the Time. I had listened to Full Collapse a bunch, but it never really clicked with me. I think I thought the first half of the record was just a little too much on the weird emo whiny side, and I wrote the band off as “just not into it.” Then both Thursday and Thrice signed to Island Records at around the same time, and went out on a tour in the fall of 2003. I went to the show at Soma in San Diego, and seeing Thursday play blew my young mind. I fell in love with War All the Time and went back and gave Full Collapse another chance, realizing that the album is fucking tight and my original assessment was dead fucking wrong. “Paris in Flames,” “I am the Killer,” and “A Hole in the World” were all rippers. Even the two bigger songs off the album, “Understanding in a Car Crash” and “Cross Out the Eyes,” while I still wasn’t big on those songs, I appreciated their place on the album as a whole. Their first album Waiting is still hot garbage though. We don’t talk about Waiting.
I was pretty bummed standing in the crowd. It seemed like almost every Thursday fan in Chicago is easily 6′ 5″, and they all decided to stand directly in front of me. Luckily as soon as the first note of “For the Workforce, Drowning” hit, the crowd collapsed in on itself with a bunch of thirty somethings going completely apeshit. It got so crazy that security had to come in and kind of form a barrier between the rowdy mosh pit and the rowdy people who just wanted to scream along. Thursday barreled through the first four songs, stopping only to dedicate “Signals Over the Air” to any woman in the crowd who has had to deal with being harassed or worse.
One particular individual would not stop moshing and crowd surfing, even going hard during the extremely mellow piano “This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb.” The security guards eventually intervened, telling him to dial it down just a scooch and stop fucking crowd surfing. Well, the other rowdy folk around this guy took that as a challenge and would every once in a while just pick the dude up, and toss him onto the crowd. It was hilarious and petty and I loved it.
Thursday finished up War All the Time and promptly left the stage. It was encore time! I overheard someone in the crowd say, “come on man, this is fucking stupid. The guitar techs are still onstage tuning the fucking guitars, of course they are not done.” Boom! Another person inducted into the ‘encores are bullshit’ camp. Thursday emerged once again, introducing the first song as “the first track off our album after War All the Time called ‘A City by the Light Divided.’ You know, the one you all hated when it first came out?” They finished off the night with “Jet Black New Year” saying it was originally supposed to be included on War All the Time as a companion track to “Tomorrow I’ll Be You.” The crowd went ballistic for the last time.
We are all getting older. War All the Time came out fufteen fucking years ago, but is still somehow relevant in today’s shit stained world. Add to that the fact that singer Geoff Rickly sounds fucking great, still flawlessly switching between singing and screaming, even once in a while slipping into “United Nations” grindcore territory. It was honestly one of the best shows I have been to in a long time, and I stood in awe of Thursday like I did fifteen years ago.
It was so good, I went back for the second matinee show on Sunday. Unfortunately, I fucked up and got there late, walking in around the middle of “Steps Ascending.” From what I could tell the Sunday show was exactly like the Saturday show, down to the encores, except the crowd was a little more lethargic. That’s not to say they weren’t raging in the pit; it was just smaller and less wild. Still, seeing Thursday one and a half times in the year 2018 is something I never thought I’d be able to say. And shit man, there’s still the L.A., Brooklyn, and most importantly, the Asbury Park shows in August. Anyone down to go to New Jersey?
Thursday Set List
For the Workforce, Drowning
Between the Rupture and Rapture
Signals Over the Air
Marches and Maneuvers
Asleep in the Chapel
This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb
War All the Time
Tomorrow I’ll Be You
The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out
Jet Black New Year
Check out the below photos from all four nights of Thursday shows at Lincoln Hall in Chicago: