5/22- The Thermals @ Mohawk

thethermals05Friday night was a great evening for an outdoor show; the cool breeze of the impending rains allowed the crowd to remain cool during what would normally be considered a hot Texas night.  Til We’re Blue or Destroy opened up the evening just before The Shaky Hands, which led us into the night’s main event, The Thermals. Follow the jump for full show review.

Til We’re Blue or Destroy reminded the locals just why they are one of the big movers in the local Austin scene. Their short set was just a small dose of what their upcoming album may hold. Said album is said to hit our streets this July.

Once the Shaky Hands took to the stage, the night clearly took off.  Their energy-filled set reminded many in the audience of Kings of Leon, back when that band was worth mentioning. It was a cross of folk-punk-country with a stellar drumming performance.  Not to mention that the bass player wore a Flipper t-shirt, so you can’t go wrong there can you? They left the stage drenched in swear, with the crowd practically salivating for more music.

Then out came The Thermals. Honestly, the great thing about the band, aside from the fact that they write great tunes, is that they have the uncanny ability to get a seemingly nonchalant Austin audience to actually uncross their arms and move about a little bit. When they played hits like “Here’s Your Future” or “How We Know” the crowd started bouncing up and down, with fists pumping highly in the air. It’s strange to think that a band with such lo-fi tendencies has this incredible ability to write songs with lyrics that lead towards anthemic sing-a-longs. Almost every person in attendance seemed to know the words to the more popular songs, which echoed throughout the audience as the set wore on.

One of the more important notes was the relationship between the band. As Kathy bobbed away on her bass, as only Kathy does, you could catch Hutch sneaking a glimpse over at her to make sure she was having as much fun as he was. They seemed free, only stepping onto the stage to bang out as many as their incredible songs as was possible. You also have to give it up for the new drummer, Westin Glass. His constant enthusiasm only made the show that much more enjoyable. Behind the kit, he hammered away with fervor, pausing only to encourage audience participation by waving his hand wildly in the air, just as the rest of us did. As the band closed the night with “No Culture Icons” I only had one thing on my mind: Dear Thermals, “I can’t fucking stop thinking about you.”


  • That was absolutely a great show. All the bands that night put on a great performance.

  • “they have the uncanny ability to get a seemingly nonchalant Austin audience to actually uncross their arms and move about a little bit”

    Where we at the same show? The way I remember it was The Thermals laying it down and the surprisingly un-packed crowd crossing their arms and refusing to move about even a little bit. A band with the energy of The Thermals should not be impressed by moving a bunch of Austinite deuchbags to actually tapping their feet.
    This show was part of Chaos in Tejas, a full week of crust punks slam dancing and mashing to bands no one has ever heard of. Friday night a band far more successful than most booked of the fest (if you’re counting albums sold and press given) played to the fests smallest and least energetic crowd. Ram actually had a guy in the front roll ask him to “calm down”. This is not an accomplishment but a sad commentary on music today and Austin’s uber-cool and much divided scene.

  • I don’t know Kyle. The front half-not including you and your friends, were all singing along and bobbing up and down the entire set–trust me, I was a bit further back.

    I would like to say that there were a lot of solid bands at Chaos in Tejas, most who have garnered more press than The Thermals. The Thermals are small potatoes next to the likes of Ted Leo or Krum Bums or Propaghandi for that matter. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been put together well. I think people need to look at the idea that Austin caters to all types, and always has, and we should be fortunate people like Transmission put this type of thing together regardless of what music we are into. I’m no longer a gutter-punk, but I respect their right to rock just as much as mine, so I’ll never complain. I don’t know what my point is here, other than I think things like Chaos in Tejas, Power-Pop Fest, and Free Week are incredible, and far too many people claim that because they don’t know these bands they aren’t worth it. If it’s not worth it, don’t go, but be happy their are thousands of people who will.

  • Ramalamahamdam

    Douchebag: “You wanna switch in front of me?”

    Ram: “Nah, I’m alright right here thanks.”

    Douchebag: “You sure about that? Cuz you been fuckin’ up the show for me and everyone around me. I came to hear ‘them’ sing, not you. Your out here spilling beer on people and singing louder than the band. It’s fuckin’ obnoxious.”

    Ram: “Relax.”

    (good summary)


  • Nathan, I think you may have misunderstood me. My comment was not at all intended to indicate that I in any way thought Chaos in Tejas was badly planned, etc. To the contrary, I went to 4 Chaos in Tejas Shows, am well acquainted with Timmy (the brain trust behind Chaos in Tejas), knew of or new personally many of the bands that played, and have watched this little fest grow into something awesome over the last few years.
    My point was out of the 4 shows I was able to attend the Thermals’ was far in away the lamest, to no fault of the bands. Instead, my point was for one reason or another the Thermals drew a meager, calmer, more sterile, and generally shittier crowd in comparison to other smaller, and less known acts included in this year’s fest.
    Punk and hardcore continues to provide a vital environment for kids who are genuinely into and live for the music. The Thermals deserve that sort of crowd and I know for a fact they get it all over the country. But like many other bands branded indie (not for the sake of independence but to tie them down to skinny pants, ironic shirts, and blogospheres everywhere) when they show up in our fair city they’re greeted by the cool police, arms folded and as hard as they may try to re-create their energy filled, lyrically insightful, punk tinged jams for the crowd they are only rewarded when finally upon playing the single the guy in the back taps his chucks on the concrete, a sure sign that they’ve achieved the impossible in the live music capital of the world.
    Since when did Rock n’ Roll become this watered down conservative demonstration of restraint? Since when are crowds at rock shows characterized as “nonchalant” and since when does a bands ability to make people look as if they are actually enjoying themselves “uncanny”.

    Buy Kyle Johnson’s new book “What happened to Rock n’ Roll? When Visceral Becomes Viral ” in stores Aug. 1st, 2009

  • More of my two cents…

    First, bands have not always enjoyed themselves on stage. Often they have broken apart on stage, especially the more punk bands from the past. The Misfits left Danzig in the desert, and to watch a band that hates one another but plays great songs, go watch End of the Century.

    Second, I won’t lie, if I had been around Ram, I would have been pissed to have beer spilled upon me as well. For me, I come to watch the music, not to dance about. I’m not that little kid anymore, and in all honesty, I never really was back in the day either. For me, it has always been about watching the band, seeing them play, and hearing how they sound. I understand the tribute to days in the pit and what not, but don’t you think that more time could be spent on watching the band rather than looking at what a good time you and your friends are having? I don’t know, but it seems like in the pit, you miss the show. Move by all means, but understand I’m entitled to my space and my experience of the show.

  • The whole thing is if someone wants to go to see a show and just “hear” the band then please stand in the back and enjoy the show. Nathan, good job on staying towards the back to “Listen” to the band and doing the review. As for Ram and the rest of us having FUN and LISTENING to the band we did what everyone else did who wanted to. Dance, sing and “not” enjoy the show. The guy in the front who said Ram ruined the show was in fact the only mother licker who was not having a good time. Plus Mike forgot Ram’s beer so he didn’t spill beer on that dickhead.


  • “Understand I’m entitled to my space and my experience of the show.”
    No one is preaching intolerants here brother.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *