thermalsSBblur

The Thermals, The Icarus Line, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Show Date: April 22, 2003

Even though getting to the Showbox to catch openers the Thermals meant we walked in while the sun was still unseasonably shining, we felt vindicated for our efforts as soon as this perpetually- frenetically- brilliant foursome took the stage.

It was our first time seeing them perform since the release of the ingeniously infectious More Parts Per Million album. Our silent wishes of hearing our favorite album tracks "It's Trivia," "Back To Gray," and "I Know The Pattern" were granted. Sure we'd probably heard those songs before the album was released at the last show, but this time we could perform our song-specific dance routines and sing along. Jump-kick-turn and we were happy campers.

Read about the Thermals at the Sub Pop anniversary party.

The Icarus Line. Photo by Ryan Schierling. I had reservations about the Icarus Line when I saw their shirts — gruesome hand-drawn images of women being mutilated. But I reserved judgment until I heard them play. Once I heard them, I could fully say I found this band terrifying, and not in a good way.

This droning, endlessly loud, misery of a metal band pounded painfully through their set, until our entire table succumbed to the misery where we could no longer converse or even drink. We ceased to want anything, except for this band to desist. I did, however, check out their Buddyhead web site, and damn, it's funny. Funny that a band with so many rules of rock thought it would be okay to posture in a ridiculous red Seinfeld-esque puffy shirt — with eyeshadow to match. Weird.

The highest point of my Yeah Yeah Yeahs excitement was in September, 2002 – right before I saw them perform for the first time. After months of only having an ep and a John Peel live session to listen to, I was excited to see them open up for the John Spencer Blues Explosion.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Photo by Ryan Schierling. Then when they took the stage and I experienced their show first hand, I realized that I had fallen victim to fashion-influenced-music reviews. I felt like the YYY's songs were written just so they would have something to do while showing off their stylists' handiwork.

Don't get me wrong. I have kept that first YYY's ep because those five songs are fun to throw into the cd player on random and they serve as a historical marker on a facet of the music scene of 2002. I can totally understand how someone could become momentarily addicted to her Debbie Harry-esque bravado and invariable warbling vocal stylings over top of the simplistic jagged instrumentation. But live, this time piece left me uninspired. I'm put off by the orange torn fishnets disguised as an original fashion statement and keep thinking that lead singer Karen O's mannerisms were part young Edith Bunker and part Missing Persons' lead singer Dale Bozzio. {Is anyone surprised that the first Missing Persons fan website I checked was a broken link?}

I'd been so rocked from the highs of the Thermals to the plummets of the Icarus Line that I then fled to the reliable comfort of Visqueen