Thursday is one of those bands whose sound defines a generation.
In the early 2000s underground hardcore and post-hardcore scenes, the music and live shows of the New Jersey sextuplet became havens for angst-fueled youth craving connection and understanding. And Thursday’s poetic lyricism and glittery chord progressions — punctuated by moments of pure hardcore punk — served up a delicious new sound fans could sink their teeth into.
Those same youths were at the show last night at Paper Tiger, only maybe not quite
as youthful as they were when they first discovered the band. In what felt like a high-school reunion, the Paper Tiger was packed with 30-somethings, and a sprinkling of 20-somethings, eager to re-live their scene kid memories.
What made last night, and this particular tour, special is that Thursday was only playing songs from their seminal early-2000s albums Full Collapse
and War All the Time
Massachusetts hardcore children Vein opened the night with an explosive combination of 2000s metal-core and '90s nu-metal. Groovy and violent, the floor opened with a sea of hardcore kids dancing — throwing punches and roundhouse kicks into their air as is the custom.
Up next was Thursday.
As the band launched into “For the Workforce, Drowning,” the crowd erupted into a swirl of bodies, some holding up phones and singing along to frontman Geoff Rickley’s illustrious emo lyrics.
“Since we’ve only got one night here, we’re gonna play a bunch of songs off of Full Collapse
and War all the Time
,” said Rickley, wearing a black jacket and t-shirt for the band Uniform. “We’re gonna play a lot off War All the Time
Without skipping a beat, Thursday rocketed into “Autobiography of a Nation,” a deep-cut and fan favorite from Full Collapse
. The band continued mining that record, playing “A Hole in the World,” “Cross out the Eyes” and “Standing on the Edge of Summer.”
“I wanna thank all the strong women who are holding down here in the front," Rickley told the crowd before launching into songs off War All the Time,
starting with "Signals over the Air." The walls of Paper Tiger echoed with screams and cheers as the New Jersey dudes jumped into the four-minute banger.
“Thanks for having us back. We haven’t played here since—” Rickley said, stopping mid-sentence and looking around before someone in the audience yelled “2003!” Rickley repeated the date, looking surprised that it had been that long, then he told the crowd the band had played bigger cities on the tour but San Antonio had been the most fun so far.
The band then ripped through more of War All the Time
, including “Marches of the Universe,” “Tomorrow I’ll Be You,” “Division St.” and the title track.
“These songs still resonate 18 and 19 years later, and it’s because you took them and made them a part of your lives,” Rickley said.
Met by a roar of excitement, Thursday played the first couple of notes from their biggest hit, “Understanding in a Car Crash." As Rickley began to sing, the entire room sang along to the the opening lyrics.
The band returned for two encore numbers, "The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (of Control)" and "Jet Black New Year." At the final song's last breakdown, confetti burst over the crowd in a triumphant end to a nostalgia-filled night.
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