If the November co-headline show of The Offspring and Simple Plan at the Bell Centre was the double-bill of mainstream punk-rock that took you back to your youth, tonight’s show features bands that deserved to be as big but somehow never were. Instead of a sold-out Bell Centre, we are in a half-full Corona Theatre; there truly is no justice in the world!
I have started to find myself firmly in the category of people who seem to be musically fixated on the past. In previous years, I would struggle to narrow down all my favourite albums of the year into a top 10; in 2022, I can barely think of five new albums that I have properly enjoyed. I have listened to plenty, but nothing seems to stick. Why do I mention this? Because tonight, I am transported back to that golden era of Y2K alternative-indie-emo-punk-post-hardcore when it felt like I loved everything. Have I pedestalized this era too much? Possibly. Probably. But on the strength of tonight’s show, it’s pretty easy to see why.
Omaha’s Cursive is first up (on account of scheduled opener Anthony Green being too sick to play), and they are belatedly celebrating the anniversary of their acclaimed third record, Domestica, which was released in 2000. That record is played in its entirety from start to finish during their hour, bookended by some other gems from the Cursive catalogue. Amazingly, it isn’t the first time they’ve done this in Montreal (Osheaga 2012 being the other). Frontman Tim Kasher reminisces: “Montreal was one of the few times we did that in the past; now you’re on par with Chicago!” Elsewhere, “From The Hips” is pepped up with some trumpet accompaniment to give it a veritable jazz vibe (for a few seconds, at least). The traditional set closer “Art Is Hard” is still as thunderous as ever, with a few hardcore fans in the crowd bouncing around and screaming along as Tim bellows, “Cut it out / your self-inflicted pain / is getting too routine!” Next year marks 20 years of their amazing The Ugly Organ record, which birthed that song; is there any chance of that record being toured and played in its entirety? One can live in hope…
- The Great Decay
- The Casualty
- The Martyr
- Shallow Means, Deep Ends
- Making Friends and Acquaintances
- A Red So Deep
- The Lament of Pretty Baby
- The Game of Who Needs Who the Worst
- The Radiator Hums
- The Night I Lost the Will to Fight
- Dorothy at Forty
- Stranded Satellite
- From the Hips
- Art Is Hard
New Jersey’s Thursday is on a similar nostalgia trip, celebrating 21 years of their seminal Full Collapse record, which is also being played in its entirety. The crowd may be relatively sparse for a venue of this size, but they are certainly devoted; one guy next to me drove all the way up from New Jersey just for this show tonight! 20 or so years may have passed, but the vibe has not changed. The band arrives on stage to the instrumental A0001, and frontman Geoff Rickly starts swinging his mic like a lasso until the band lights the torch paper on the incendiary Understanding In A Car Crash. Geoff’s voice hasn’t changed a bit either, as he declares, “I don’t want to feel this way forever!” at the chorus note-perfectly 20 years later. A couple of guys start trying to shove and jump around, but the chill vibe prevails amongst the floor (for now…), and people are content to head-bang instead. That’s a big difference from 20 years ago, at least!
Geoff pays tribute to absent opener Anthony Green (“he’s so f**kin’ sick he couldn’t make it here tonight…”) by dedicating a pummeling Cross Out The Eyes to him (on account of that being Anthony’s favourite Thursday song) Geoff closing out the song on his knees at the front of the stage looking absolutely tortured. Paris In Flames and I Am The Killer are enormous too. Standing on the Edge of Summer is introduced by Geoff as a “mellow jam,” funny as it’s still heavier than most bands’ heaviest work!
Wind-Up probably has the best backstory of the night. Geoff explains how the band never actually wanted it on the record, but their label insisted in order to make 11c more per record sold. Later, when touring the record for its 10th anniversary, tour partners Underoath said they shouldn’t talk smack about their own stuff… to which Geoff points out: “we can talk smack about whatever we want; we’re not Christian boys!” before admitting “…but they’re right: this song slaps.” They absolutely are; it absolutely does.
A massive sing-along accompanies How Long Is The Night as the pit heaves, and Geoff holds his mic stand out over the tops of our heads, with the energy running right over into the encore as a few other choice cuts from the Thursday discography are dusted off. A stellar Jet Black New Year melts seamlessly into Signals Over The Air, which is one of my live highlights of the year, as I lose myself in the sing-along. That gem from the awesome War All The Time record is followed up with the title track from that same record to close out another incredible hour.
Come to think of it; next year will mark 20 years since that album was released too. Imagine that: Cursive doing The Ugly Organ and Thursday doing War All The Time; what a tour that would be! Again, one can dream… For now, it’s a fantastic show from start to finish, and my last show of the year is unquestionably one of my favourites!”
- Understanding In A Car Crash
- Autobiography Of A Nation
- A Hole In The World
- Cross Out The Eyes
- Paris In Flames
- I Am The Killer
- Standing On The Edge Of Summer
- How Long Is The Night? (with “Understanding in a Car Crash” reprise)
- Jet Black New Year
- Signals Over The Air
- War All The Time
Review & photos – Simon WilliamsShare this :