Thursday, PUP, Hotelier, Jeff Rosenstock & Tony Molina @ McCarren Park (pics, setlist, review)
Thursday continued their reunion tour with a big Northside Fest show in McCarren Park on Sunday (6/11). They've played NYC's Irving Plaza and Starland Ballroom in the band's home state of NJ, but this was their first reunion show in Brooklyn, where Geoff Rickly lives now. Before the band even played a single note, he talked about how he loves living in a place where everyone is welcome -- the band once again had their "Protect Immigrant Communities" and "Refugees Are Welcome" banners hanging behind them -- and then the band went right into their cutting critique of America, "Autobiography of a Nation," off 2001's Full Collapse.
In today's America, the band's political commentary really resonates and that was a running theme throughout this show. Before they played "A Hole in the World" (also off Full Collapse), Geoff talked about how happy he is to see "Love Is Love," a lyric in the song, becoming a rallying cry for a great cause. (He also mentioned he was happy to see it wasn't some modern Klan group taking a Thursday lyric and running with it.)
Thursday also sounded as great and high-spirited as ever. From the first reunion show, they looked and sounded like they never left, and each one I've seen has just gotten better and better. This one also had some songs in the setlist that Thursday hadn't played during their reunion yet, "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart" (the sole song in the set off the band’s last album, 2011's No Devolución) and set-closer "Into the Blinding Light," which had fog blasters shooting up in the front of the band, and really had them going out with a bang. Those blasters weren't the only visual aids at this show. The band set off inflatable white doves in honor of their longtime logo, as well as big red balloons to match the color of their reunion-era visuals.
A big Thursday reunion show in a park would be an exciting event on its own, but this one was made even more exciting by the seriously impressive list of opening acts (just about every band acknowledged how excited they were to be part of this lineup). Tony Molina opened with a short set of his Thin Lizzy-meets-Weezer jams and ended with a cover of Dinosaur Jr's "The Lung" off You're Living All Over Me (an album Tony covered one night earlier at the 33 1/3 Northside showcase). After Tony it was Jeff Rosenstock, who's been in the game about as long as Thursday (a little longer, even) and whose music is just as critical and self-aware. He acknowledged the irony of playing a big Northside show surrounded by Williamsburg's tall condos and billboards, the very things he wrote "Festival Song" about after attending Northside two years earlier. Jeff and his band sounded excellent and, despite being second on a five-band bill, they had a chunk of the crowd singing as much as any Jeff Rosenstock show.
After Jeff, The Hotelier were up. I don't know if it was just the good vibes of being outside on a sunny (and very, very hot) day, but I thought it was one of the best-sounding Hotelier sets I've seen in a while. They opened with the one-two punch of Home, Like Noplace Is There's "An Introduction To The Album" and "The Scope Of All Of This Rebuilding," and from there, the set stayed on a high. Like at many of their post-Goodness shows, the highlight for me was "Soft Animal," with its cathartic shout of "MAKE ME FEEL ALIVE, MAKE ME BELIEVE THAT I DON'T HAVE TO DIEEEE!"
And finally after The Hotelier it was Candian punks PUP, who drew a very large crowd (I think I saw more PUP shirts than any other band) and delivered a set as raucous as you'd expect from them. Jeff Rosenstock joined them on stage for a minute, singer Stefan Babcock ran into the crowd, and the whole place was bouncing around, throwing fists in the air, and shouting for them.
Thursday at McCarren Park - 6/11/17 Setlist
Autobiography of a Nation
For the Workforce, Drowning
The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (Of Control)
Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart
Cross Out the Eyes
A Hole in the World
Signals Over the Air
Jet Black New Year
This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb
You Were the Cancer
Understanding in a Car Crash
War All the Time
Into the Blinding Light
photos by Amanda Hatfield