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A decade into the game, the Thermals have become an afterthought, taken for granted by many rock critics and musical outlets. They never had a radio hit or took risks with their sound. And yet they persist, bouncing from label to label and putting out very Thermals-esque records.

The Portland-based trio has matured into a barnstorming live band, seeming younger and angrier than ever. Watching them onstage, it feels as if they are out to recruit fans by the sheer energy of their performance.

When I first heard "The Sunset" off their new album, Desperate Ground, I dismissed it as a decent single. But when I saw them play it live to a packed house at the Casbah, only then did I realize the power and majesty of this song. I caught on late, but the crowd on the dance floor, singing and bouncing along to the song apparently did not.

It was interesting to watch the band methodically kick the crowd into gear throughout the night. This was no Bad Religion instant mosh-pit show. It was as if the band tricked the sleepy audience into rocking out via their nonstop barrage of catchy three-chord punk-pop songs. The choice cuts almost all came from the band's nearly perfect 2006 album The Body, The Blood, The Machine. My favorite of which had to be "St. Rosa and the Swallows," which had even me singing along like a teen girl at her first Beatles concert.

  • Concert: The Thermals
  • Date: June 13
  • Venue: The Casbah
  • Seats: Floor
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