Thursday – Portland – The Asylum, ME – 2001-11-15

Where: Portland – The Asylum, ME.

When: 2001-11-15

After checking out “The oldest pub in Portland,” my friend Rob and I walked next door to a club I had never been to before. Reason: they never have any good bands playing. But tonight, for one reason or another, they actually did.

The idiots that decided to open the doors of the club at the same time the first band was taking the stage should be drug out into the street and beaten severely. This stroke of genius on their part caused me to miss the first song or two of Thursday’s set and resulted in my getting rather antsy while waiting in line and cutting in front of at least 100 people to get in sooner. I walked in, and the band ripped into “Biography of a Nation,” which blew me away. Never have I been so impressed so quickly in a show. The intensity was astounding, and the interaction between the band and the crowd was far more intense than I had expected. Other highlights included an absolutely pounding version of “Cross Out the Eyes,” during which I scared away many teeny-boppers (Saves The Day fans) as I screamed along. For a bunch of young guys, third on a bill, touring in support of only their second record, Thursday is a live band that I absolutely must see again.

Hey Mercedes followed with a gentler sound, but the crowd reacted well. Former Braid frontman Bob Nanna bounced around happily as the band played the bulk of their newest release, Every Night Fireworks, which has only been out for about a month. Highlights included “Let’s Go Blue,” which closes out the new album and closed out their set, and though I didn’t think I could be impressed after the raw power of Thursday’s set, I was perfectly content for every moment that Hey Mercedes was on the stage.

Then came the band that all the little girls were there to see. To begin with, I have a crisp, new $20 bill for the first person who smacks that stupid “I have a hit record and you all worship me” grin off Saves the Day lead singer Chris Conley’s face. I found it rather amusing that his microphone kept shorting out during the first song or two, and, sadly, nobody else even seemed to notice. His between-song banter was thoroughly mindless, praising the crowd for showing up and spewing such idiotic stereotypes as asking if any of the people in the Maine crowd were lobster fisherman and, “Is Stephen King here? What else is Maine known for?” Half the time, the little bastard was too busy prancing around to even sing. The drummer from Hey Mercedes was filling in behind the drum kit, since STD’s own quit a few weeks ago. “Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off to Heaven,” from Vagrant’s Another Year on the Streets compilation, was the highlight of the set. Conley stood alone with his acoustic guitar for “Three Miles Down” from their debut album Can’t Slow Down, causing a frantic sing-along from the crowd. Honestly, I had more fun watching the crowd and seeing the girls go friggin nuts over every move the band made, but even that got old, so I left early and headed to the car to crank Thursday’s Full Collapse.