Review: The Thermals at The Annex in Madison

The Thermals seared their way into the Annex in Madison with Cymbals Eat Guitars and Sleeping in the Aviary in tow. The raucous crowd was ready for a high energy Saturday night.

Sleeping in the Aviary opened in a stripped down three-piece configuration, playing songs from their first album, bringing out the more punkish qualities of the band’s early material. Guitarist Elliott Kozel commented after the show, “We just played stuff off our first album,” he said. “Basically our first record was just a rip-off of The Thermals anyway.” Sleeping in the Aviary has a new album called “Great Vacation” coming out in November.

New York's Cymbals Eat Guitars played an explosive set of intricate, guitar laden epics with a healthy dose of new material. The band is about to go into the studio to record their second album. Cymbals Eats Guitars has a talent for combining subtle delicate melodies with crashing dynamics keeping the listener engaged and wanting more. Guitarist Joseph D'Agostino displays this skill perfectly on “And the Hazy Sea” through a flurry of spouting guitar gymnastics, despite a poor sound mix.

What can you say about The Thermals? The Portland rockers wrote the book on melodic power punk and have quite a rabid following in Madison. The hyped-up crown pushed and pulled with the driving bass of Kathy Foster, the distinctive vocals of guitarist Hutch Harris. Drummer Westin Glass periodically ended songs by standing up from his drum stool and leading the crowd with raised fists and cheers.

By this time, the sound mix was perfect and The Thermals demonstrated why they are one of the more interesting punk outfits on the indie circuit today. Witty lyrics and addicting riffs create a recipe for likability. “I Don’t Believe You” from the new album “Personal Life” is a perfect example of this Portland concoction.

“Pillar of Salt” turned into a sing-along as the sweaty throngs at the front of the stage shook their heads in unison. There’s nothing like a good punk show on a Saturday night and The Thermals made everyone’s week with a fun spirited performance.

The Thermals

The Thermals 

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