Review: Thursday, Quicksand and We Set Sail

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A challenging time to tour in South Australia, the tidal wave effect of Mad March was still in immeasurable force – for the unfamiliar, this event landed the day after WOMAD festival, during Fringe, Adelaide Festival and in the wake of Clipsal 500. Not to mention the night before this show, Enigma Bar hosted two of the USA’s much adored youthful punk acts to a sensational response. In quick summation, it is a very competitive yet exciting time in Adelaide, so understandably but on that same note unfortunately, a minuscule audience strolled into the Gov at first. But as famed science fiction author and professor Vernor Vinge once said: “Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things”.

Brisbane’s We Set Sail sadly had a threatening storm against them in the form of a near empty venue, but they stayed the course and presented an elegant and passionate showcase of songs from mostly their album ‘Feel Nothing’. A quintet with three guitarists, bass player and drummer with exchanging vocals that built an atmosphere comparable musically to Moneen and Kevin Devine. It was an astonishing display of progressive me rock but criminally under-appreciated, especially the track Snails that somehow defied gravity with its ability to create a weightlessness with its danceable composition.

In 1990 a New York band was manifested by the name of Quicksand who arguably refined the idea of post-hardcore established by artists like Fugazi, but with an injection of experimental guitar play mastered by groups like Helmet and an adjusted alternative rock feels similar to Jawbox. Derived from the hardcore mastermind Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth Of Today fame; finally he was able to bring feasibly one of the most admired post-hardcore bands to our shores that he had conducted from day one. Loud, angular, impromptu, spirited, mathematical and arresting are all descriptions which almost encapsulated what this writer witnessed to an awe-inspiring effect. However, to the remainder of the growing crowd, there were most likely two comprehensible reactions: Admiration or utter confusion. Nevertheless, this was historical; Fazer was borderline inconceivable in delivery, newer song Normal Love acted as a tremendous time travel catalyst with a very modern edge, Unfulfilled was in fact the time travel machine and truthfully this was just the beginning. Transparent, Delusional, Cosmonauts and Dine Alone were undoubtedly highlights although the truest pinnacle was the insurmountable noise made by just three musicians. Mr. Schreifels was in his element, as he usually is and this scribe had witnessed with his other band Rival Schools; strutting the stage like a proud lion with an element of excitement and satisfaction from what he creates and even after decades in the “game” so to speak, he is thankful the world pays attention. Walter, you may lose yourself in your infatuation for your art – no need to thank us though; you continue to amaze aficionados worldwide.

“I actually found their music quite difficult to listen to because it is so incredibly powerful.” – Robert Smith, The Cure.

The aforementioned quote taken from Thursday’s ‘Kill The House Lights’ DVD released in 2007 is the best representation of how this writer can describe one of the most powerful bands in the modern emo / post-hardcore era. The sextet from New Jersey underwent everything every punk band probably shouldn’t, however, they have remained above a legacy, beyond an influence, and they are THEIR IDENTITY. On this night Adelaide experienced a stadium band in an intimate setting and amongst the flaws, it was defective perfection. Praised at one point during their career as the next Nirvana, but the six-piece were born from the basement punk scene, Thursday can be put in any scenario and dominate, no matter what challenges are presented. For The Workforce Drowning, Understanding In A Car Crash, Cross Out The Eyes, Signals Over The Air, Paris In Flames, Steps Ascending (a horrid story involving gun violence which front-man Geoff Rickly experienced), Jet Black New Year, This Song Is Brought To You By A Falling Bomb (a powerful ballad featuring just Geoff Rickly and Keyboardist Andrew Everding) and Division Street transformed the Governor Hindmarsh; this wasn’t just a performance, this was a reflection of Thursday’s artistic endeavour and lifetime and Adelaide was immensely lucky to be a part of it.

The encore included Circuits Of Fever, No Answers, Turnpike Divides and to close War All The Time which Geoff Rickly admitted that the last time he was in Australia in 2012 he left his wife and his band broke up to which the devastation had led him to heroin. Thankfully and admirably this obstacle is forgone; most importantly however, was that Australia was once again privileged to experience one of the most compelling and irreplaceable rock music outfits for possibly the last time once more. This Side Of Brightness is where you have left us Thursday and we thank you.

Cellarmasters
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