Thursday, Touche Amore, Basement and Cities Aviv Remind Us Of Our Angsty Teenage Years


There are very few bands left on my “need to see live” bucket list. Sure, there are a bunch of bands that would be cool to see live but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t catch them. Thursday was one of those bands that I just absolutely had to see live. I did catch about two of their songs at Riot Fest in Chicago last year but that doesn’t really count in my mind. Last night was the first time I have ever seen Thursday play a full set and it was absolutely everything I could have dreamed of.

The night started with Cities Aviv, a rapper/ producer based in Memphis, Tennessee. I was intrigued by Cities Aviv’s set. It definitely didn’t fit the line-up in the typical way but it still worked with the rest of the show. The beats that he was putting out were strong but not overpowering. Much like the rest of the night, you could tell there was a message behind his music and that’s what made it tie into the rest of the night. The music mixed with the distorted vocals gave off a very atmospheric sound which, for those who were celebrating the 4/20 holiday, was an intense experience. Even if you weren’t celebrating the holiday or you just couldn’t get into the music because it was so different than the rest of the lineup, there was no denying the creativity of Cities Aviv and I can’t wait to dig into his music a bit more.

Next up was Basement, an English band that I had been wanting to see for awhile now. Unfortunately, singer Andrew Fisher was sick… like beyond sick. He took the stage wearing sunglasses and after a couple of songs he let the crowd know that he wasn’t trying to be cool or anything, he was just sick as a dog. Basement went on to play, what I thought was, a next to perfect set. Their catchy hooks and heart felt lyrics have had me hooked on Basement since my brother turned me onto these guys and those two elements translated perfectly to a live show. 

Unfortunately, after a couple of songs it was clear that Andrew really wasn’t doing well. He was leaning on the microphone stand and just kind of swinging along to the music. There were times when I was truly worried he was going to pass out but he pulled through. He apologized to the crowd far more times than I could count and each apology seemed more sincere than the last. He explained how pissed he would have been had he paid money to see a band and their singer performed like he did. I don’t think there was a single person in the growing crowd that was pissed. If anything, I think people felt bad for Andrew and helped him out with the lyrics and the energy. Long story short, Basement could have easily dropped off the date and not played the show but they had a crowd to please and that’s exactly what they did. Even with the illness, the band sounded perfect and on point. 

Touche Amore was next and completely stole the hearts of damn near every person in the venue. Touche Amore is a post-hardcore band from Los Angeles that has quickly taken over my daily playlist. When I listen to their recordings when working or just hanging out, I am typically hit by a wall of emotion yet I find a sense of peace in their music. Watching Touche Amore play live last night made me feel that same thing but it was magnified about a million times and, by the time their set was done, I was emotionally exhausted.

The energy coming off of the stage was electric. At first I wondered if it was because Basement’s energy seemed to be lacking due to Andrew’s illness but I quickly realized that wasn’t it at all. Touche Amore was just a super energetic band to see live and that just added to the perfection of the band. Their music is emotionally intense and the energy seemed to match that. Each note seemed to serve a purpose and each drum hit acted like more than just a beat. To say these guys are a deep band wouldn’t be a stretch and being able to see a band like this live is enough to give you chills.

Singer Jeremy Bolm has a certain aura about him that just screams positivity. His energy was nothing short of infectious and even if you walked into the show last night with no idea who Touche Amore was, you left with a place in your heart for them. Their lyrics are dark yet honest and hit you right in the gut. They are lyrics that are easy to relate to and as soon as Jeremy sang, “I’m homesick and living in the past” it was game over for me and I just let myself fall into the music. Being able to get completely lost during a concert is a rare but truly beautiful thing. You may think it happens every time you go see a show but it doesn’t. There are some sets that you truly just lose yourself and last night was one of those. Every worry of daily life had left me and the only worry in my mind was the worry that I knew Touche Amore’s set would have to end eventually and, at the end of the night, I would have to go home, sleep, wake up and go to work and start the grind all over but for the time that Touch Amore was performing, I didn’t care about any of that and it was truly an experience.

I was worried that Thursday wasn’t going to be able to top what Touche Amore just pulled off but then I saw Geoff Rickly take the stage and, like during Touche Amore’s set, nothing mattered anymore. Geoff, the singer of Thursday, was one of those people that I would scour my Alternative Press magazine for pictures of to staple onto my walls in my bedroom. Not only was he one of my “future husbands” was truly an inspiration. His music had deeper messages in it than what I was listening to at the time and, when mixed with the heavy music and the perfect screaming, Thursday quickly became one of my favorite bands.

Thursday’s brand of music is very post-hardcore but there are elements of pop-punk, metal, hardcore, punk– hell, their music is a hodge podge of absolutely everything I love. When seeing them live, their music is conveyed with a sense of fury and power that can sometimes be lost in the recordings. Geoff was constantly dipping down into the crowd to give fans a chance for the coveted “mic grab” and that just got the devoted crowd even more riled up. Even though, for obvious reasons, Geoff stole the spotlight throughout their hour long set, the rest of the band had more energy than many bands I’ve seen which just added to the power of their set.

Thursday announced a hiatus in 2011 and my heart broke but I knew life would go on. Geoff admitted last night that when the band announced that hiatus, they had no intentions of getting back together because things were left on bad terms between band members. Thankfully, that changed last year and they got back together giving me a chance to see this band that truly affected my life in a very positive way.

Sometimes I go to concerts and sometimes I have experiences. Last night was truly an experience.