In the post-hardcore pantheon, the New Jersey guys of Thursday are millennial gods. Led by unapologetically erudite frontman Geoff Rickly, in the late '90s and early '00s, their initial loud-soft aesthetic helped define what would later come to be known — often pejoratively — as "screamo." That accomplishment has been both a blessing and a curse, and 2009 finds the band in a strange marketing position. To those who gave the band only a cursory listen from the beginning, the misapplied genre tag, long inaccurate, has been hard to shake. To younger kids who have grown up with derivative screamo sounds in mainstream rock, Thursday is, oddly, not screamy enough. This was evident during the band's last local stop at Revolution, just a few months ago, when Thursday headlined the teen-skewing Taste of Chaos tour. By their evening-closing set, most of the mall set had wandered outside the club for a meet-and-greet with the younger and louder English act Bring Me the Horizon.
Still, the open-eared have continued to embrace Thursday, and the most loyal fans have stuck from the beginning, and continued to follow the band through increasingly weird musical terrain. The band's most recent album, Common Existence, was released this past February on Epitaph Records and flies free of genre constraints. It's crushing when it needs to be, at other times spacy, stamped with the undeniable influence of British shoegaze acts like Ride and My Bloody Valentine. Meanwhile, Rickly's stylized lyrical narratives are, he says, influenced by authors like David Foster Wallace, Martin Amis, and even Thomas Pynchon. Perhaps that's too heady for people who just want to hear guttural yells about naked desire. Others, however, will find much to chew on, and this headlining spot — not aimed at Hot Topic shoppers this time — should find the crowd much more amenable to Rickly and company's flights of fancy.