The Thermals, Cymbals Eat Guitars
The Tin Roof
Oct. 17

Cymbals Eat Guitars joined Portland rockers the Thermals on Sunday night at the Tin Roof. Excitement ran high as the show, originally scheduled at the soon to reopen Village Tavern, was threatened by venue changes and cancellation before ending up at the West Ashley venue.

Cymbals Eat Guitars are known for their big sound, and the Roof’s clear acoustics made them sound even larger. I’d heard the band’s sound compared to Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, but I was otherwise unfamiliar with their work. Those comparisons were right-on, though a major post-rock influence was also present.

Culling songs from their yet-to-be-named second album and their celebrated debut Why There Are Mountains, the band transitioned effortlessly between rapturous cadences and equally captivating pop songs. The pop sections were highlighted by bassist Matt Whipple’s bouncy fretwork that opposed, yet complimented singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino’s looser style of playing. D’Agostino’s vocal delivery was passionate yet untheatrical, reinforcing the humbleness the band displayed throughout the night, thanking the audience repeatedly before closing with “Indiana.”

The Thermals took the stage shortly after Cymbals, launching into “Here’s Your Future” from The Body, The Blood, The Machine. The song set the tone for the next hour, stacking the band’s lively stage presence and arrangements next to serious lyrical matters. Singer/guitarist Hutch Harris and bassist Kathy Foster’s on-stage chemistry was entertaining, with Harris playing guitar and attempting the splits (“Just like the young people!” he exclaimed) while Foster restrained her laughter.

The band’s set spanned their entire discography, from the Guided By Voices-esque “It’s Trivia” to the low-key “Never Listen To Me,” from their new album Personal Life. The crowd lost momentum during the newer songs, but the energy quickly accelerated via the one-two of “Return to the Fold” and “St. Rosa and the Swallows.”

Though the band’s lengthy set list ran together at points, the short song lengths kept the attention of any A.D.D.-ridden attendee, leaving listeners wanting more. Unfortunately, the Thermals pulled the punk-rock move of no encore.