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Saturday, October 31

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Transmission
« King for a Monday Wish You Were There »

Concert Mon Oct 22 2007

The Thermals

TheThermals.jpg

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.

 
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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 »

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