POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—For the first time, I was almost disappointed by a Thursday show.
But it wasn’t the band’s fault.
After making the two hour drive up to The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY, I should have known better. I wasn’t in New Jersey anymore.
From past experiences, the entire crowd erupts with excitement for the Jersey natives of Thursday, but that certainly was not the case where I started off standing during the show, at the front right corner of the stage, where people around me stood still as if still waiting for the band to come out.
After pushing my way past the large number of all-too-quiet audience members (I would say “fans” but their mellow stance and lack of singing suggested otherwise), I found my fellow diehard fans front-center by the end of the band’s opener, “Into The Blinding Light.” A song usually reserved for mid-set, it was a welcomed change to see the band open with a lesser known song. “At This Velocity” followed, and as frontman Geoff Rickly stepped down from the stage to sing into the crowd, more and more people began to wake up and the audience became livelier.
Thursday took the next hour-and-a-half to rock the intimate venue, where several hundred people were given a mix of the old, the new, and the never heard before. “Signals Over The Air” and “How Long Is The Night” were among the crowd favorites, with “Understanding In A Crash” and “Jet Black New Year” receiving the loudest reactions. I don’t know if it was the singing around me or the instruments, but Rickly’s vocals were largely overshadowed throughout most of the set, but he delivered an animated stage presence as usual, moving gracefully and singing passionately.
Newer song “Dead Songs” off last year’s Kill The House Lights was one of the best performed songs, with the band sounding as fluid as on the album. The highlight of the evening, however, was when Rickly announced the band would perform “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain,” for the very first time, a song slated to appear on an upcoming split with Japanese band Envy. Dedicating the song to his father who was in attendance, Rickly led the band through the new song, one which displayed Thursday’s characteristic hardcore sound with the perfect dose of melody.
Near the end of the set, Thursday performed “The Lovesong Writer,” a great song that unfortunately did not receive much enthusiasm from the crowd which was probably hoping for more older material to close the set.
Thursday ended with “Autobiography Of A Nation” and “Sugar In The Sacrament,” the latter being an odd and somewhat disappointing song to end with, when songs like “Cross Out The Eyes” and Rickly’s hinting of “A Hole In The World” went unheard. Nonetheless, Thursday put on a thrilling set, and it luckily took no time to get away from the boring section of the crowd.
It could just be that many who were in attendance were more amped for the opening bands, since all were noteworthy. God Fires Man, InnerpartySystem and Envy On The Coast each contributed greatly to the night, with Envy On The Coast being the most memorable. The Long Island natives played much of their material from their debut album, Lucy Grey, which fans obviously liked and already knew well, with energetic bodies and voices moving and signing along. The band’s alternative sound with doses of pop and catchy choruses drove me to make sure I saw them the following week at Bamboozle. Envy On The Coast is definitely a band to expect more from.
Overall, every band that rocked The Chance deserved their place on stage, even though the crowd should have had a bit more enthusiasm for the night’s headliners. I should also mention that had this been a Jersey show, I would not have been so angry over having to drive home two hours after being nailed in the face with a Thursday drumstick after not paying attention to when drummer Tucker Rule threw them into the audience. And thanks to not acting fast enough, some girl who couldn’t have been much older than 16 walked away with it after rebounding off my nose.
And I walked away thinking that next time, I’ll stay in the Garden State to see Thursday, because as the Poughkeepsie show reinforced, Jersey does it best.
Photo Credit: Ryan Bakerink