After springing back to life in 2016, and steadily showing how a proper reunion is done in the years since, with festival appearances easing into tour dates (including a 2017 return to Nashville), personal mending, attention to fan service, and the foresight not to overstay their buzz, beloved New Jersey post-hardcore icons Thursday are ready to wind things down once more, this time concluding on great terms, and with the door open indefinitely for future activity. For the last trek of their reunion run, the band are continuing a 20th anniversary celebration which kicked off last year, where they’ve been performing two nights in each town, playing fan favorite albums Full Collapse and War All the Time in full. Heading back to Nashville for a final time (for now), the rockers will play Exit/In on Monday, Feb. 25 (for Full Collapse) and Tuesday, Feb. 26 (War All the Time), with buzzy Baltimore indie/emo group American Pleasure Club supporting both dates. Though separately ticketed, these shows promise to be different and dynamic in their own right, and are almost certain to sell out, as every single date of last year’s run did. While they last, snag your tickets here here (2/25) and here (2/26), then read on for more about the shows!
Formed just over two decades ago in New Brunswick, NJ, seminal post-hardcore act Thursday, who rose to fame in the early ’00s adjacent to the booming emo and pop punk scene, found a loyal and widespread fanbase after breakthrough 2001 effort Full Collapse, and cemented their legacy with equally beloved 2003 effort War All the Time. Channeling dark and earnest lyrical themes and a heavy, visceral, and driving musical style, the group managed to find a bridge of crossover appeal between the lighter, indie-influenced emo scene and fans looking for something packing a punch more akin to hardcore. After a lauded run, which saw their sound evolve into more atmospheric and experimental territory throughout six full-length releases, the group disbanded in 2011, at the time plagued by personal difficulties. After years of mixed signals, Thursday officially mounted a surprise return in 2016, making their debut at Atlanta’s Wrecking Ball fest, then hitting Riot Fest and Sound on Sound, before ending the year with two intimate hometown New Jersey shows, stressing that they only chose to return after mending fences, finding a way to operate on their own terms, and feeling assured that their decision felt organic and fan-driven, rather than a nostalgia grab.
By all accounts the comeback performances were phenomenal, and left the band feeling truly whole again, prompting their first proper tour in years in 2017, which brought them back to Music City for the first time in recent memory. Continuing a celebration of their legacy, honoring their 20th anniversary, and staying mindful of paying fan service, Thursday began playing a series of dates in 2018 with two stops at a club in each city, where one night they play Full Collapse and the next they play War All the Time in full, a run which has expanded into the new year for a series of shows the band have announced will be their last- at least for now- explaining in statement “when we stopped playing last time, it wasn’t on the best of terms. This time, we get to put down touring on the very highest of notes: in each other’s lives and able to pick up and play together behind closed doors whenever we want. If we are ever able to do Thursday again, it will be a new, separate chapter.” Slated to conclude in March, this final trek caps a really special and important chapter in the career of a beloved, punk rock staple, and feels like an exemplary way to handle a reunion: healthy, organic, for all the right reason, cognizant of the wants of longtime fans, and throughout without being overdone, leaving the door open to push forward in the future should they choose. For now, though, Nashville residents have two final chances to see Thursday play their best known albums in their entirety; don’t miss out!
AMERICAN PLEASURE CLUB
Blurring the lines between lo-fi indie rock, emo, punk, and noise pop, Baltimore’s American Pleasure Club, formerly known as Teen Suicide and, temporarily, Dumpster, nearly called it a day before really giving themselves a chance to flourish as a band, initially announcing their breakup in early 2013, after a string of EPs, demos, and a self-released debut album, I Will Be My Own Hell Because There Is a Devil Inside My Body. Thankfully, a year later, they reconsidered, solidifying a new lineup, finding a label home in Run For Cover Records, and crafting a phenomenal sophomore album in It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot. Lo-fi, vulnerable, jarringly emotionally, and yet still palpably punk, the record earned the group a renewed wave of buzz, soon landing them on tour with Say Anything and mewithoutYou. Consistently anchored by frontman and creative core Sam Ray, the band have seen further personnel shifts in recent years (notably, Ray’s wife, Kitty Ray, a buzzy fixture in the indie and cloud rap underground in her own right, is officially part of the current lineup), and with a new name and a more honed sound, have produced their most earnest, raw, and resonant work to date in last year’s A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This and the forthcoming Fucking Bliss. A genuinely inspired choice to support this tour (the members of Thursday are still wholly dialed into the modern underground punk scene, and it shows), whether or not you’re familiar with American Pleasure Club already, you should seriously make a point to be punctual and see what they’re all about.
Thursday and American Pleasure Club will perform Monday, Feb. 25 (Full Collapse) & Tuesday, Feb. 26 (War All the Time) at Exit/In. The shows are 18+, begins at 8:30 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $35-38 here (2/25) and here (2/26).