With help from both We Set Sail and Quicksand, Thursday brought everyone present at the Corner Hotel last night right back to 2001 and 2003 with a set mostly comprising ‘Full Collapse’ ‘War All The Time’ material.
With a band room filling up painfully slow and under cool hazy blue lights, Brisbane’s We Set Sail delivered their noisy and melodic “post-rock but what if also emo” sound brilliantly. Featuring the always solid material off 2016’s ‘Feel Nothing‘ LP, We Set Sail were a perfect choice for the opening support band on this Thursday/Quicksand tour. And it fucking irritates me to no end that so very few people witnessed not even half of the quintet’s authentic and beautiful opening set. Similar frustrations were at one point actually aired from singer Paul Voge (who many will remember from running much-loved Brisbane music store, Kill The Music) when he stated that no one showed up for their Sydney set and thanked those present for at least coming down early.
Well, we were more than happy to oblige, mate!
Even with just a small attendance watching on, the Queensland five-piece played as calmly and as effortlessly as ever throughout their half-hour showing; from their warm yet gloomy sonic mood, stunning guitar melodies and well-delivered lead vocals and their smooth backing vocal harmonies. Starting off their set with the gorgeous ‘Reminders Written On Maps‘, whilst using various samples from the classic Jack Black and John Cusack film, High Fidelity (much like their 2016 full-length did), Wet Set Sail guided their inviting, Mineral/American Football/early Balance & Composure/Jets To Brazil sound between lush indie-rock, melodic post-rock sections and some very pretty mid-west emo moments. And it seemed to really win over those few in attendance, including the mate that I’d brought along as my plus one who was enthralled with these guys from the very first song.
So, in summary: please listen to We Set Sail. They’re really bloody good!
When the red curtains pull back on the Corner Hotel stage, the New York trio of Quicksand launched right into fan-fave songs ‘Fazer‘ and ‘Too Official‘, culled from their classic debut album, 1993’s ‘Slip‘. From there, famed vocalist/guitarist Walter Schreifels (also of Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, and Rival Schools), the enthusiastically energetic bassist Sergio Vega (also from Deftones) and drummer Alan Cage lifted plenty of songs from their debut 1995’s ‘Manic Compression‘ LP, and their first record in 22 years, 2017’s solid comeback effort, ‘Interiors‘. Everything from ‘Omission‘, ‘Dine Alone‘, ‘Thorn In My Side‘, ‘Landmine Spring‘, ‘Under The Screw‘, ‘Illuminant‘, and ‘Cosmonauts‘ all got a live mention in this headline-long set, of which somewhat annoyingly ran quite over time too.
At some point during the night’s proceedings I suddenly realised that, along with my plus one and our photographer, I was one of the youngest punters at the venue. Which isn’t all that surprising, as Quicksand definitely come before my time – I wasn’t even a faint glint in my father’s eye when they released their first album some 25 years ago. With the band also not that young themselves, they still put on a good live show that sounded massive despite being a three-piece and the older fans were lapping these ever-ageing tracks right up. Even if there was a lofty hint in the air that many punters were just waiting out for Thursday’s following set.
While I do really love the ’90s quality to Quicksand’s grunge-meets-post-hardcore sound and Vega’s insanely thick and filthy bass tone, I also can’t help but feel that a headline set from them under Thursday was the wrong choice for this tour. Good in theory definitely, but not the best when put into practice. For their 17 song setlist dragged on for too long, especially when they were playing too loose with their songs, weren’t all that tight live and even stopping and starting both ‘Illuminant‘ and ‘Normal Love‘ early on in their set. While they did play these minor hiccups off cheerily and naturally enough to not make it a big issue, with there still being another band to go on the bill after them, there was definitely some fatigue setting in during their set.
Other than that, though, I must admit that it’s just fucking great to have Quicksand back in-action.
The last ever time I saw Thursday – one of the first alternative/rock/post-hardcore bands that I got obsessed with – live was at the Melbourne Soundwave in 2012, within that giant steel shed the Melbourne Showgrounds had a stage set up at. It wasn’t packed out, it was the middle of the day, their set was sandwiched between playing right after Dashboard Confessional and right before Framing Hanley (of all the fucking bands), it was one of their final shows as a band before their initial split, and it was just woefully unceremonious to boot. That was the first time that I saw one of my all-time favourite bands live. Bittersweet was an understatement.
But that was then, this is now and under much more appropriate, loving circumstances no less.
Following a quick opening interlude, the New Jersey six-piece took right to the stage and hurled themselves through the explosive 6/8 punk classic, ‘For The Workforce, Drowning‘. From there it was old-school hit after old-school hit: ‘Cross Out The Eyes‘, ‘Paris In Flames‘, the anthemic ‘Signals All Over The Air‘ (dedicated out to Camp Cope), the acknowledgement of the stolen Indigenous land for ‘Autobiography Of A Nation‘, ‘Steps Ascending‘, the ravenous “party song” ‘Jet Black New Year‘, ‘A Hole In The World‘, and ‘Division St.‘ There was also a lovely mid-set reverie for the piano interlude, ‘This Song Is Brought To You By A Falling Bomb‘, with frontman Geoff Rickly’s soft singing and Andrew Everding’s piano playing serenading the crowd wonderfully.
Truly, this show was practically a Thursday fans wet-dream!
With Tucker Rule slamming away behind the kit, Everding’s keys, synths and backing vocal suitably adding to each song on Rule’s right, guitarists Steve Puda and the kinetic Tom Keeley backing up the always passionate Rickly, Thursday took us and themselves through our respective youths with these classic tunes. And thankfully, there was nothing taken from ‘Waiting‘ – that can happily stay back in 1999, thank you very much.
For me personally, finally getting to see and hear the heart-wrenching beauty of ‘Steps Ascending‘ and the urgent, ominous ‘Division St.‘ live was on a whole other level of spectacle and excitement. The former especially so due to its heavy subject matter of losing a close friend to gun violence and not being able to apologise for the hard times you put them through, of which Rickly gave another personal anecdote of tragically losing a young friend when he was a little kid to gun violence before they performed the track. And that’s really the key thing that draws me to Thursday’s music: the emotional honesty entrenched in their music and full-on passion and forthcoming nature from Rickly’s lyrics and his personality.
In that regard, the one Thursday track that embodies just that was used to help to wrap up the first part of their set – ‘Understanding In A Car Crash‘. Yes, I know it’s an obligatory song for the band due to how loved and synonymous it is with their name now, but with very good reason: it’s one of their best songs, plain and simple. Every single moment of the seminal song was amazing live; from the poetic lyrics, the emotive instrumentals, to the driving energy it summons up amongst the audience – tonight’s crowd most certainly included. And you can damn well bet I was down the front in the thick of it to sing along loudly for that much-lauded track.
Despite the rabid excitement from fans, looking around the room on the night, it was sadly empty in some parts. Which sucked. Because for a show that features Quicksand and Thursday – Quicksand and motherfucking Thursday – this Melbourne stopover, out of the whole tour, should have sold out at the very least. With the band playing both ‘Full Collapse‘ and ‘War All The Time‘ in full over in the States soon, had promoters marketed this tour under the same treatment, it would’ve been a great warm-up for those arguably much larger shows for the band and it also would’ve sold so much better too.
While beggars cannot ever be choosers, it was also a little jarring for the encore to feature more recent material in the shape of ‘Circuits Of Fever‘ from 2009’s truly awesome ‘Common Existence‘, as well as ‘No Answers‘ and ‘Turnpike Divides‘ from the underrated final LP, the denser and post-punky ‘No Devolución‘. Jarring because by the band’s own words at the very start of their set, they were here to play songs from two very special records that mean so much to them and their fans – ‘Full Collapse‘ and ‘War All The Time‘.
Of course, there have been some truly fantastic songs written in Thursday’s later career: ‘Running From The Rain‘, The Other Side Of The Crash‘, ‘Friends In The Armed Forces‘, ‘Beyond The Visible Spectrum‘, ‘Magnets Caught In A Magnetic Heart‘ – the list just goes on! But the tone and feel of this Australian tour and for the band’s career right now seem to be heavily situated on those earlier records. Which is why wrapping up their set with the glorious, moving title track from ‘War All The Time‘ was a terrific choice as the set ender. As soon as that opening bass riff kicked in, the crowd roared with crazed excitement and the opening lyrics of “Standing on the edge of the Palisades’ Cliffs/In the shadow of the skyline very far away” were shouted back to Thursday as loudly as damn possible.
It’s that kind of love and that kind of fandom that Thursday created back in their heyday and it’s something that time hasn’t at all withered away at. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger. Now that’s the sign of a truly great band.
Read our essential Thursday song list right here.
Thursday, Quicksand and We Set Sail will wrap up this Australian tour tomorrow night in Adelaide – tickets here.