Playing shows six years after breaking up and seven years after releasing an album can be a dangerous move. It can easily be written off as a quick cash grab especially when coming back to play songs almost purely off their biggest records. When you throw a band like Thursday in there in it could be particularly messy. Much of their appeal lies in Geoff Rickley’s ability to emote, letting his feelings run raw across the music. If this was missing the set would ring incredibly hollow. Fortunately, despite having just flown into the country and feeling the jet lag Rickley still passionately believes in the power of these songs.
Having someone you grew up looking up to playing the opening set will have helped motivate. Walter Schreifels has reformed a lot of his old bands over the last few years, having released a new Rival Schools record and taking Gorilla Biscuits back out on the road. Tonight it was Quicksand’s turn.
Their sludgy bass heavy mix took a little while to gain traction but as the set gained traction the dynamic rhythm shifts started to click and the band found themselves in a nice groove. So comfortable did they get on stage that Schreifels played through a couple of songs with his guitar out of tune. Cuts from Slip showed why they are so revered within the scene with the breakdown of “Head To The Walls” displaying some guitar wizardry and “Dine Alone” a great example of their ability to craft pop music out of harsh edges.
Thursday’s set drew heavily from War All The Time and Full Collapse. It isn’t hard to just look at the title of War All the Time and understand the sheer impact and influence of September 11. It’s an album that is coiled with anxieties and fears about the future amongst the trauma of the event itself. It is also in this climate as relevant as ever. As Rickley introduced “Steps Ascending” he made clear how much the song still takes from him and its tragic origins of having of his friend accidently shot and killed another when they were children. As America recovers from yet another mass shooting it hits tonight as a mighty gut punch.
The tightly packed set jumped between fan favourites with a driven purpose, “Jet Black New Year” coming as a commanding force through the mid-set whipping the aging crowd into a minor frenzy. Even more impressive was their ability to immediately switch up to “This Song Is Brought To You By A Falling Bomb” and keep the audience quietly engaged. Rickley’s vocals have never been the sort that were going to win any talent competitions, but he holds the song together with sheer emotion accompanied only by piano.
“Understanding In A Car Crash” closed out the main set hitting with the same ferocious impact it did seventeen years ago. A four song encore provided the opportunity to play a couple of songs from No Devolucion and Common Existence that showed how much they developed throughout their career. While it was a thrill to relive the glory of their early releases they still can write music that in this climate may feel as vital as it did 17 years ago.
Thursday & Quicksand are currently touring the country with shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
The reviewer attended the concert on 8th March 2018 at the Metro Theatre in Sydney.