Underoath/Thursday @ The Trocadero Theatre

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Nestled within all the brotherly love and impossible to understand parking restrictions of Philadelphia is the Trocadero Theatre. Without all the scenesters standing around outside, this theater would be lost amidst all the Chinatown storefronts. A few trips around the block revealed where the tour buses were parked, and a new life lesson that just because the sign says ‘$15 to Park,’ does not mean it’s true.

Running up to the box office window, it wasn’t long before I discovered I was too late to catch either opener of the evening. I was excited to hear music from A Skylit Drive’s new album, Identity On Fire, live, but I’ll just have to wait until Warped Tour this summer. Animals As Leaders were also on the tour and they too were a band I definitely wonder about in a live setting. They are an instrumental progressive metal band and it’s always intriguing to see how bands like them compensate for the lack of a front man.

I had always felt sacrilegious being from New Jersey and never really being into Thursday. This night was my first time seeing them. On the set list for this tour was their 2001 release, Full Collapse, in its entirety.

Looking around, you knew who in the audience was there for Thursday; flannel, beards and tattoos related to older scene bands gave it away. The venue was filled and provided little room to move around, especially on the main floor. While it may have been like a religious experience for most, us non-followers were put in awe with a quite a strong performance.

It was musicians, instruments and audience caught up in one show that, maybe if you were close to the stage, would have made you feel as if you were back in some small club or basement. Singer Geoff Rickly was all over the stage, feeding off the energy from the audience and was, at times, drowned out by their singing.

I was surprised to learn that Underoath has been around for just about the same amount of time as Thursday. Only tonight, Underoath would be playing new tracks off their album, Ø (Disambiguation), which came out this past fall. I was a little nervous as I watched all the lights being set up; strobes have the tendency to ruin a live show for me.

But off they went, lights flashing as is if a UFO was landing on stage, with a projection screen at the back of the stage, showing the band’s logo and some creepy images. When singer Spencer Chamberlain took the stage, he really stood out. His long dreads whipped around and took on a life of their own.

During “Writing on the Walls,” played early in the set, my attention was grabbed by parts of the song’s music video being displayed behind the band. They also have a new drummer and no additional vocalist, as Aaron Gillespie left the band last year. It was odd not seeing that red hair of his flying around the stage.

The music was on point, but the show was much different from what I remember from seeing Underoath years ago. Maybe the band has gotten a little older, but it was a bit simpler and cleaner, however, still just as powerful. I had to check out right before the end, but I was itching to go home and listen to the new album without all the flashing lights.