The Thermals looked so very clean for a group of touring indie punks from Portland. Hopping up to the stage, it was no nonsense, down to the trio's minimalist wardrobe. The crowd was thrown into a state of euphoria with opener "No Culture Icons," the proclaimed favorite of the show's promoter Jeremiah Gratza.
Blissed out drummer Weston Glass, the latest in a line rivaling that of Spinal Tap, smiled incurably throughout the set's entirety with an expression encapsulating glee, pain and a fourth grader having his school picture taken. Well, except for when he was signing along with the rest of the fans.
The Rhythm Room's all-ages orange divider demarcated a line where those who were drinking nothing were dancing the most and "Here's Your Future" was their anthem. As the audience linked elbows, falling over each other and waving arms it became apparent: Thermals fans are the best fans. These kids have worshiped all the records in their car stereos, living rooms and headphones; and this show was not only fun, it was a defining point in their fandom.
After the setlist was exercised, The Thermals walked off, high fiving and thanking the crowd. Begging and banging for more songs commenced, and the band obliged with a duo, closing on "Our Trip."
Last Night: The Thermals at Rhythm Room
Better than: Wearing thermals in Phoenix.
Personal Bias: As someone who enjoys a good punk show, this vibe definitely had all the punk highlights good things: dancing, crazy, participating crowd; great, simple songs.
Random Fact: Life on RR's patio was pretty sweet on this cloudy summer-fall night, with light sprinkles of rain and an occasional breeze.
Further listening: The Thermals' resident badass bassist and headbanger Kathy Foster is also in All Girl Summer Fun Band.