Since returning to the Ancestral Lands, I've taken advantage of being in a major metropolitan area to get out and see some good bands. I've been remiss in not chronicling these shows as they've happened, and at this point, I'm probably not going to bother with most of them. But I did have a few things to share about the Thermals show in Philadelphia back on April 15. I had a bit of consternation over deciding to go to this show because Titus Andronicus were also playing in town the same night. Despite being less than satisfied with my previous Titus Andronicus concert experience, I've been very much digging their new album, The Monitor (while being somewhat disappointed with the Thermals' most recent one, Now We Can See), so it was a tough call to make. However, three facts tilted the balance in favor of the Thermals: (a) I'd never seen them before; (b) Atlanta's all-girl quartet The Coathangers, whom I'd also never seen before, were opening for them; and (c) the show was at the First Unitarian Church, and I needed to see first-hand what has inexplicably become Philadelphia's premier indie rock venue. Anyway, I was thoroughly pleased with my choice. In lieu of a real concert review, I'll just post an email I composed on my phone as I sat, sweat-soaked and ears still ringing, on the PATCO train that took me back across the river after the show.
FAQ Regarding Tonight's Thermals Show
- Is the basement of the First Unitarian Church as strange a venue for a show as you'd expect a church basement to be?
- Does it nevertheless have a sound system loud enough to feel the kick-drum in my sternum?
- Is it true that there's no alcohol for sale, so everyone there is drinking paper-bag-wrapped beers they bought from the neighboring convenience store?
- Were the Coathangers ferocious and awesome?
- Have I already forgotten the name of the OK-but-unremarkable second band?
- Did the Thermals basically rock the shit out from the first note they played?
- Did they play and Here’s Your Future, and were those songs fucking awesome?
- Was there a mosh pit?
- Did I participate in the mosh pit?
- Was the mosh pit experience, as usual, a somewhat threatening yet exhilarating descent into a raw, sweaty sea of humanity?
- Did the show allow me to forget, however fleetingly, the utter horribleness of existence?