Saturday, March 03, 2007


What happened to Hutch Harris? Last time I saw the Thermals he was ragingly shy, hiding behind long, shaggy hair, racing through his songs like he couldn’t wait for the show to end all the while staring at the back of the wall of the Fireside Bowl as if he was trying to forget there were actually people watching him. Fast forward two years and suddenly he’s a frontman. Gone is the hair and gone is the timidity; maybe the fact that he’s now playing the best material he’s ever written has him energized and renewed? Last night at Subterranean, the Thermals were in top form, with Hutch leading the charge. The band still raced through their songs, but this time it was with conviction instead of anxiety. Hutch was all big smiles and expressive features, especially during the songs from The Body, the Blood the Machine, when he’d put down his guitar and preach from his pulpit, waving his arms in the air and shaking his fingers at the audience to emphasize his messages of apocalyptic doom (and actually pantomiming holding a baby every time he sang “I carry my baby” during "A Pillar of Salt").

The band came out on stage and immediately blasted through the first three songs of TBTBTM, “Here’s Your Future,” “I Might Need You to Kill,” and “An Ear for Baby” before even stopping to take a breath. Bassist Kathy Foster hopped around the stage virtually non-stop throughout the performance, her fantastically wild, curly hair bouncing to the beat. Hutch, Kathy and Co. then managed to squeeze 20+ songs into an hour, reminding me just how short and fast their songs really are; they razed through virtually all of both More Parts Per Million and Fuckin’ A, sprinkling the new songs inbetween before capping the night off with “A Pillar of Salt” and “Returning to the Fold”.

It’s been awhile since I’ve found myself at an all-ages show, so I shouldn’t have been quite so surprised when a couple punk kids tried to start a mosh pit from the moment of the first guitar riff. It didn’t work too well, as no one around them wanted to participate and Subterranean is a little too small to get much going, but that didn’t stop them from thrashing around the entire show. I guess by “them” I should really be referencing “that kid in the green track jacket who kept yelling to the bands about how drunk he was, crumpled to the floor at one point, magically got a second wind once the Thermals came on, and eventually tried to body surf to no avail”.

See the full photoset here.

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