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We Love Music: Thursday & Underoath @ 9:30 Club, 2/22/11

All photos by Andrew Markowitz

I was not expecting such a great night of metal at 9:30 Club on Tuesday night. To my surprise, the show was sold out by the time I arrived. Animals as Leaders, a local progressive metal outfit, blazed through a set that left everyone at the show talking about them for the rest of the night. Plus, the headliners Underoath, a metalcore group I’ve been writing off for years, wowed me with their flashy stage show.

So that was a nice surprise, but really I was there for emo / post-hardcore group Thursday. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its release, Thursday played their debut album “Full Collapse” in its entirety. Let’s just say I’m pretty familiar with it. It comes up pretty frequently when I want to scream alone in my bedroom. The words to all the songs are permanently engraved in my head, or at least in my diary.* Confession time: Thursday is the band I’ve seen most live. I lose a ton of cred in the ‘metal scene’ for this, but you know what? Every time I see them, I walk away thinking about how Geoff Rickly is a grade-A frontman, who brings undeniable energy to every performance. I just can’t pass up a chance to see him.
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Hot Ticket: Thursday & Underoath @ 9:30 Club, 2/22/11

Thursday - Full Collapse [2001]

It might be easy to lump the group Thursday, playing tomorrow at the 9:30 Club, in with other aging emo bands such as the Get Up Kids. But Thursday have come a long way since they first cracked the scene in 2001 – their full-length debut “Full Collapse” spawning the hit singles “Cross Out The Eyes” and “Understanding in a Car Crash”. Well, they were hits in my mind, at least. This was always one of my favorite emo bands – they were dramatic and serious, and just a bit heavy. Tomorrow night, they’ll be playing this album in its entirety.

Since then, they’ve consistently revived their style on each album. Lately, frontman Geoff Rickly has been working with a side-project, United Nations, which is sort of a tribute to extremely heavy 90s hardcore bands like Orchid and Pg. 99. Geoff’s instincts have consistently driven Thursday in a heavier direction – even 2003′s “War All the Time” was much darker and angrier than “Full Collapse”. Since splitting ways with Island Records in 2007, Thursday have toured with bands that don’t quite match their emo style – heavy bands like Converge and Envy.

Tuesday night’s pairing with Underoath is a perfect example. Underoath is a metalcore group from Florida, combining the vocal style and attitude of hardcore punk with metal riffs. I personally love this style of metal – it means I can scream along with the lyrics, or just bang my head to the riffs. A Skylit Drive do something similar, with alternating screaming and melodic vocals – but I’m most excited about Animals as Leaders, one of my favorite progressive metal bands. This DC-based group delivers quick bursts of heavy, jazzy, complex riffs without the pretention or epicness of bands like Dream Theater.

I caught Thursday last year at the Black Cat, and it had one of the most energetic crowds I’ve seen in DC. Dozens of kids shove their way to the front of the pit for the chance to shout lyrics in Geoff’s face. Look out for me – I’ll be the guy in the black hoodie in the front row.

Thursday & Underoath
w/ A Skylit Drive, Animals as Leaders
9:30 Club
Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, 2011