The Thermals – The Bowery Ballroom – May 9, 2009May 12th, 2009
“Stuffed and woozy from a daylong BBQ-and-beer binge, I walked into a packed Bowery Ballroom to see what the Thermals could do with me.”
It was one of those kinds of Saturday nights: Winter’s long gone, but it’s not quite summer. It’s warm enough for the streets of the Lower East Side to be packed with those going home drunk and those going out to get drunk. Stuffed and woozy from a daylong BBQ-and-beer binge, I walked into a packed Bowery Ballroom to see what the Thermals could do with me.
I may have been on my last legs, but the crowd was just getting going and once the music started, the room was raging. This was happy, sing-along punk music—two- and three-chord ditties characterized mostly by a straight-ahead beat and just-left-of-center bass melodies. If every tune worked at the same pitch, pace and forward velocity, it didn’t seem to matter. Each song pumped up the pumped-up crowd a bit more until people were going airborne and some old-school watch-your-skull crowd surfing provided moments of extracurricular entertainment for those of us toward the back. This was Disney crowd surfing, though. Each surfer was happily collected at the stage like he had just gotten off Thunder Mountain. That pretty much sums up the night.
I kept my feet on the ground and my eyes and ears on that bass player, Kathy Foster. That was a mean, left-handed four-string she was playing. It kept me going long past my breaking point. —A. Stein