Tag Archives: the Thermals
Singer-guitarist Hutch Harris and bassist Kathy Foster were already in the folk duo Hutch and Kathy when they formed the lo-fi, punk-fueled the Thermals in Portland, Ore., more than a decade ago. Harris played every instrument on their debut LP, More Parts Per Million, which came out in 2003 and earned comparisons to Guided by Voices. But he teamed up with Foster and others to play the material live. The lineup has changed over the years, but the Thermals (above, playing an acoustic version of “You Will Be Free” at the Ace Hotel’s 5 at 5 series) are currently a trio, with Harris and Foster joined by drummer Westin Glass, who came onboard for the band’s fourth album, the acclaimed Now We Can See. But just last month, the trio released their sixth LP—and first on Saddle Creek— Desperate Ground (stream it below), which Paste magazine says “sounds like a rock and roll party.” And it’s also always a party when the Thermals play live. So come out and be part of the two-night celebration as they play The Bowery Ballroom tonight and tomorrow.
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, Desperate Ground, Guided by Voices, Hutch and Kathy, Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster, More Parts Per Million, Now We Can See, Preview, the Thermals, Video, Westin Glass
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“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