Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, October 31

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« King for a Monday Wish You Were There »

Concert Mon Oct 22 2007

The Thermals


I was raised in the Methodist faith, which isn’t really a faith at all but a denomination of a faith; it’s actually more of a tradition. So I guess I was raised in the Methodist tradition, which is highly traditional and phenomenally boring. As my parents only listened to the radio and I didn’t have an older brother to teach me what was cool, music wasn’t an integral part of my upbringing. I shuffled through a hazy life supplemented by Christian hymns and early 90s R&B. At seventeen, I had a best friend who loved rock’n’roll and was willing to show me the ropes, so I broke free from Christianity and the radio and never looked back. Since then, it’s been all rock’n’roll all the time, but somehow it wasn’t until the Thermals released The Body, the Blood, the Machine last year that any music tapped in to how I personally feel about Christianity—that it provides hope for a great many people while serving as a powerful vehicle for our society’s constant state of fear. The third LP from this Portland pot-pop-punk trio, TBTBTM tells the story of a young couple who must flee a United States governed by faux-Christians. The loose concept album is fiercely critical of world that isn’t quite ours but that isn’t far off and it totally and completely rocks.

The Thermals don’t so much reinvent the punk rock form, as bitch slap it and make it their slave. “Here’s Your Future” opens with a droning organ and a classic riff while lead singer Hutch Harris plays the part of punk rock preacher (“God reached his hand down from the sky/ He flooded the land and he set in on fire”) before assaulting the senses with a full-on guitar bass drum attack. “A Pillar of Salt” is a catchy and frightening jam about running in terror away from the powers that be, to find a place where “we won’t have to die, we won’t have to deny our dirty god, our dirty bodies.” The whole approach of TBTBTM is simple and pure and by the end of its loud and loose 35 minutes, I usually go right back to the beginning. Live, the Thermals transform into a foursome of energy, while their boisterous crowds sing-a-long to every song. Chicago welcomes the Thermals back for the third time this calendar year, and it’s easy to see why we love them. This big city is comprised of a lot of folks from small Midwestern towns who can really get a behind a guy who screams, “I can’t believe I got so far with a head so empty.” We understand, because we can’t believe it either.

The Thermals rock the Logan Square Auditorium this Wednesday, October 24th. In an odd but inspired pairing, local pop favorites Chin Up Chin Up open. Show starts at 8:30pm and ticket info can be found here.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15