It would be easy to dismiss the return of most bands after a lengthy “hiatus.” Money grabs and nostalgia mining are common occurrences, rarely indicative of any kind of actual desire to either perform or recapture what made a band so special in the first place. Sometimes, it’s a reimagining - which, personally, I think is a fascinating approach to take. But, for every few “who was asking for that?” reunions, we get lucky and a band that was “of the moment” for us comes back and is, not unsurprisingly, still absolutely relevant.
I spent almost a decade in New Jersey, home to emo/screamo/post-hardcore pioneers Thursday. Arriving in the winter of 2001, their eponymous debut, Waiting, was already a classic and the feverish wait for their follow-up, Full Collapse, was almost over. To live in New Jersey as a fan of independent music meant that you were, almost automatically, a Thursday fan. There wasn’t anything remotely like them happening in the Midwest (as was usually the case), so getting to the East Coast as bands like Thursday, My Chemical Romance, Murder By Death (basically, the early Eyeball Records roster), Saves the day and others were just getting started was, to say the least, invigorating. Spending the entirety of that first decade in New Jersey as those bands grew and evolved - well, I can only describe as being a completely singular experience, and one that still informs my musical choices and habits to this day.
Thursday’s oeuvre is one of evolution and growth, challenging in the way they boldly move from album to album and stand on the shoulders of their previous artistic achievements to create all new ones. Vocally, Geoff Rickly’s delivery was always considered an acquired taste (whether he was crooning or crowing), and musically they consistently layered bursts of frenetic energy over melody and calm. They were often a band of extremes, taking those quiet moments, slashing through them with intensity and emotion before going somewhere else entirely.
As they matured, their sound weaved new textures throughout, and each new release challenged long-time fans as much as new ones, and likely acted as a profoundly strange introduction to a band that started out so very heart on their sleeve and raw. That’s not to say they ever lost that audible and apparent empathy - it was simply refined and allowed the opportunity to shine in different ways as their sounds progressed.
Whether you’re a fan of their early material, the almost midway point of War All The Time, which, for me, is the quintessential release of their career (though Five Stories Falling’s “Jet Black New Year” might be my favorite of those earlier releases), or their later albums, Thursday’s return is a welcome one. It’s rare that we get to legitimately grow - and grow up - with a band as important as Thursday. And to not have them lost to the ravages of time or, even worse, the vagaries of success, is a minor miracle.
They arrive in Cincinnati this Saturday, April 22 at Bogart’s, with post-hardcore titans Touche Amore as direct support. Basement and Cities Aviv open. It will be impossible to shed your nostalgia at the door, so just go ahead and give in. Let’s get emotional.