May 30th, 2009 |

The Thermals are one of the rare bands I get really excited about these days. Once I heard they we’re cutting ties with Sub Pop I anxiously checked their webpage every few days to see where and when their new album would come out. It wound up coming out on Kill Rock Stars, and it wound up sounding much more in the pop-punk vein than their previous efforts, but I still love it. Their songs are so catchy, and Hutch Harris (vocals, guitar) and Kathy Foster (bass) play with such unabashed joy that their energy cannot help but jump off the stage, and off the record, right into my ears, silencing whatever musical prejudices my snobbish mind will try to throw at it. I arrived at the Troubadour just in time to catch the beginning of their set, though I missed openers Shaky Hands and Point Juncture, WA, both of whom are from Portland and are on tour with the Thermals. From the first song they had the crowd in their hands jumping around and singing along word for word. They played many songs from their new album, Now We Can See, in addition to sprinkling in the hits from their three Sub Pop LPs. Their new drummer, Westin Glass, went through three our four snares as he pummeled his drums mercilessly with the biggest grin imaginable when he wasn’t jumping around clapping his hands. Hutch and Kathy, with their opposite facing guitars (Hutch a righty and Kathy a lefty) seemed to form some sort of holy trinity of pop-punk perfection. By the time they closed their encore with the title track of their new album, the crowd was a satisfied sweating mess.

Dan Clodfelter