Monday, October 26, 2009

Live Review - Thursday / Far @ Bowery Ballroom

There has been a ton of things going on in New York City this past week, from CMJ to New York sports to films being shot. However, none got me more excited than this concert, Thursday performing Full Collapse in its entirety and in their first East Coast concert in nearly 11 years, the newly reunited Far! It was a sold out house at Bowery Ballroom and as fans young and old crammed into the tiny space, no one showed their age when it came to the bands playing. Veteran punks and former emo kids now in their mid-twenties (cough, cough) mixed with a new generation of Hot Topic shoppers and hit the deck for a full on musical assault.
Thursday came on and erupted the floor from the first hit of the snare drum on "Understanding in a Car Crash," and all of Bowery Ballroom exploded like an atom bomb with bodies being tossed everywhere. The New Jersey band is doing what many bands on the road have been doing these days, playing their biggest records in their entirety as main sets. I am indifferent about the idea, and still trying to understand why Thursday would do that when they just released a great record, Common Existence, earlier this year. Common Existence sounds like it needs to be heard live, but why mess with a good thing? Sticking to the classics's works too. It is interesting to see Thursday after all these years still doing what they love, they have gotten older, greyer (guitarist Steve Padulla has a salt and pepper beard now), I saw them playing with their kids outside their bus before the show. Yet, as time may have aged the band just a bit, it has not slowed them down, the focus is still there and that is the music.
As exciting it was to see Thursday, it was the band going on before was the real reason I was at this concert. Sacramento, California's reunited Far! The band led by one of my favorite singer's and songwriters, Jonah Matranga were essential to West Coast rock in the late 90's. Far influenced everyone from Deftones to Incubus to Linkin Park. After their split in 1998, the band got back together last year and are currently working on a new album slated for a spring release. This was the very first East Coast appearance of this band in over a decade and it is so good to have them back. It is interesting to see Jonah run and scream on stage, when I am so used to his solo work where it is just him and an acoustic guitar. I have never seen Jonah plugged in before and with a full band, so this was a new experience for me and he was all smiles. Playing a majority of songs off Water and Solutions, and diving in deep to the band's catalogue, including my favorite track "Love, American Style," from Tin Cans with Strings to You. The highlight of their set was when Thursday singer Geoff Rickly came on stage and sang "Mother Mary," with Far. Geoff and Jonah were hugging and kissing by the end of the song and showing the bond and brotherhood between the two front men. Having Far back is a real treat, I got into them in 2004 and have been waiting for this ever since. Jonah even mentioned during their set, "We were a band that sold no records, no one came to our shows and to be here tonight with most knowing who we are and singing with us, its beautiful." My ears are still ringing from their set and I walked about with my manic excitement very high. I am thrilled this band is here making music again.
Opening the show was Brooklyn's Midnight Masses. A band who is on this tour at the personal request of Geoff Rickly. Their music did not fit the mold of the evening, however, they were on fire. A rock-n-soul outfit reminiscent of Ben Harper's new band Relentless 7. It took the crowd a few songs to really get into what they were doing because no one expected something like that on this bill. The Brooklyn six piece were beautiful to listen to and a pleasure to have. Rickly made another guest appearance on stage with this band and I hope to see and hear more of them.