James McDonald 31/05/2006

Remember when emo used to be cool? No me neither, but I have a lot of respect for Thursday, none more so than when they packed out one of Portsmouth's best (and darkest) venues on a humid Wednesday evening. This was the penultimate date of a relatively low-key tour to promote the release of their third LP, “A City Divided By The Light”, a record which the band have spent the past 2 years working on, although that's unsurprising considering what it has to live up to.

“Full Collapse” was the defining release of a generation, and the band were obviously none too familiar with this fact, opening on a roaring version of “Understanding In A Car Crash”, before belting into another track from their first CD, “Paris In Flames”. Despite such a start, the set itself was a well-mixed cocktail of songs spanning 4 releases, however all blended surprisingly well, which enabled the New Jersey quintet to plough through at breakneck speed. The only pause for breath came in the form of “Story time”, during which the thinnest guy with the biggest fringe (assumingly, the frontman), told a tale of a near death experience he had, involving a vision of the kid from the Sixth Sense.

Something which shone through tonight was the fact that Thursday really have a rare and uncompromising love for the songs they write. The best example of this was prior to the performance of new single “Counting 5-4-3-2-1”, which was introduced with the confession that, “This song has taken us 4 years to write, but now we've finally got it sounding how we want.”

This respect for their own music has created an solid bond with their fans, who spend the entirety of the evening singing every word of every song right back at the band. An impressive feat, especially as the trend continued right through to the encore, “Jet Black New Year”, a track from their first EP, released 6 years ago.

Maybe not cool then, but there was definitely something special about tonight's performance, and judging by the new material from “A City Divided By The Light”, that's something which is likely to continue for years to come.