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Thursday w/ mewithoutYou at College Street Music Hall (New Haven)
June 22 @ 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Thursday w/ mewithoutYou, Big Jesus
Thursday, June 22nd
@ College Street Music Hall (New Haven)
$27 – $25 (adv) / 7:00pm doors / All Ages
Tickets On Sale NOW: http://ticketf.ly/2oceuxH
Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:
“A significant player in the early 21st century’s post-hardcore scene, Thursday formed in 1997 in New Brunswick, NJ. Led by vocalist Geoff Rickly, the band’s initial lineup also included bassist Tim Payne, drummer Tucker Rule, and guitarists Steve Pedulla and Tom Keeley. After issuing their debut, 1999’s Waiting, through the New York-based indie label Eyeball Records, the band signed to Chicago’s influential Victory label for 2001’s Full Collapse. Tours alongside Boy Sets Fire and Sparta helped support the album, which cracked the Billboard 200 at number 178. Thursday’s frequent gigging and furious passion fueled a grassroots response, and by 2002, the band was on the main stage of the Warped Tour and enjoying MTV support for the single “Understanding in a Car Crash.”
Thursday signed to Island Records in the wake of their breakthrough success, although they issued the 2002 live EP Five Stories Falling through Victory as a placeholder for their impending major-label debut. The ambitious song arc of War All the Time arrived in September 2003 and was met with considerable critical acclaim for its ruminations on 9/11, its personal lyrics, and a wildly shifting, kitchen-sink approach to pensive post-hardcore. Having played keyboards on the album, Andrew Everding was later added as a full-time member.
First taking some time off for themselves, the re-energized musicians then headed back into the studio with producer Dave Fridmann (the Flaming Lips, Mogwai). A City by the Light Divided, “the album that almost never was,” appeared in May 2006, followed by a tour supporting both the album and the Shirts for a Cure organization.
Thursday’s next project was a split album with the Japanese band Envy, which arrived in late 2008. That same year also saw the band inking a new deal with Epitaph Records. Reprising their relationship with Dave Fridmann, the group retreated to the studio to record Common Existence, which melded their post-hardcore swagger with new elements of indie rock and New Wave. Common Existence was released by Epitaph in early 2009, and Thursday joined the Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour in support of the project.” – Johnny Loftus, AllMusicGuide
Those who have followed mewithoutYou’s music in recent years will likely see their new, self-released Ten Stories as a return to old form. Their previous record, It’s All Crazy!, etc. had been a drastic and intentional departure. Aaron Weiss’ manic, unorthodox hollering was nowhere to be found, deliberately giving way to a more conventional melodic vocal approach. The explosive, schizophrenic drumming and swarthy, tempestuous low end (Rickie Mazzotta and Greg Jehanian, respectively) were accordingly subdued, relegated largely to keeping basic time. Chris Kleinberg had jumped ship for med school, leaving Mike Weiss reluctantly alone on electric guitar, feeling like a session player embellishing his little brother’s folk songs, no longer part of a coherent unit.
In short, due largely to their singer’s creative wanderlust, the band had entirely forsaken whatever they’d become; in an effort to spurn the familiar, they had grown unrecognizable, alienating no shortage of fans in the process. Those fans, and whoever has come to miss what was most distinct about mewithoutYou, will welcome Ten Stories as the rightful follow-up to their 2006 release, Brother/Sister, and 2004’s Catch for Us the Foxes. To be sure, the band hasn’t altogether renounced the psychedelic-rustic-pop elements of It’s All Crazy!; rather, they have renounced the scrupulous control inherent to its renunciation. Simply put, they seem to have let go of the steering wheel, and are back to writing music, well, ‘naturally.’
“They’re not quite children’s songs,” vocalist Aaron Weiss explains, “with not quite coherent storylines, but there is an overarching and kind of child-like narrative: a circus train crashes in 19th century Montana. Some animals escape, others stay in their cages. The traveling menagerie re-rails, stays its course, and struggles to fill in the missing attractions. Meanwhile, freed from institutionalized life, the rice-cake rabbit takes to a peripatetic fortune teller, the monastic walrus is tempted by a hedonistic owl, a fish falls for an eggplant. Other songs describe a contemplative Fox’s prophetic dream, a starving Bear’s vision of a martyred saint, and an indecisive Peacock & gnostic Tiger learning the virtues of megalomania from an ego-annihilated Potter Wasp.”
This bizarre, character-heavy lyrical approach let the band revisit their perennial leitmotifs of romantic disaster & quasi-mystical speculation, without the self-pity/indulgence of direct autobiography. Reflecting recent, devastating personal losses, practically every song addresses our inevitable dying, apparently easier to face when projected onto anthropomorphic animals. This zoological ventriloquist act allows them to explore abstract philosophical themes and draw on finespun literary sources with a profound goofiness that deflates whatever danger of pretentiousness. The story-teller elements are obscure enough to avoid the short-lived rock opera aesthetic, leaving most plot details and potential moralizing to the imagination; and this without succumbing to insincerity/irony, overt relativism, or outright nonsense.
The ever-odd Daniel Smith’s production and veteran Brad Wood’s mixing combine to improve upon the best sonic elements of the band’s past releases. Musically, Ten Stories is a mix of the brazen noisiness, hypnotic soundscapes, and derelict shouting of their old songs, the dead-level melody and extravagant orchestration of recent years, and a newfound reliance on ethereal harmonies, courtesy en masse of female guest vocalists (most notably, Paramore’s Hayley Williams). Whimsically morbid as an Edward Gorey alphabet, simultaneously self-abnegating and -aggrandizing, defying simplistic musical or intellectual categorization, mewithoutYou’s new collection of songs is the fabulously vivid outgrowth of an ongoing religious and irreverent eclecticism, a ‘decade-plus narcissistic scramble for artistic affirmation’ (their words), and the even longer-running and peculiar friendship of four not-so-younggentlemen from nowhere in particular, apparently at the height of their mutual affection.
mewithoutYou’s 17-ton grease-powered bus — the ornately-chipped, floral-painted, “mental hospital on wheels” — will once again, according to the band, “hem and haw its way across the country this summer, punctuated no doubt by near-daily breakdowns, makeshift repairs, newborn babies, manic depressive episodes, and desperate attempts by all parties involved to separate [them]selves from separation itself.”
Below each trudging riff and well beyond the dense ashes of the low-end, a grinding melody appears — the core essence of Big Jesus. The band was formed from a non serious idea of C.J. Ridings and things just kept snowballing after a few songs were hosted online. Line ups shifted and members rotated until Spencer Ussery, Tommy Gonzalez, and Joe Sweat completed the roster that would end up penning a deal with Mascot Label Group. Big Jesus is a balancing act of heavy, pretty, bludgeoning, soothing, aggressive, and droning tones that are put together in a way that is distinctly their own.