Music » Critics' Picks

Thursday with Cursive, From Autumn to Ashes and Engine Down

Saturday, October 5; Mississippi Nights

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The word "emo" is about as abused nowadays as the word "alternative" was in 1992. Just as the "alternative" label once applied to bands as disparate as R.E.M. and the Butthole Surfers, today "emo" covers everything from the sweet power-pop of the Getup Kids to the discordant rock of Thursday.

Of course, quibbling over genres is a really boring way to listen to music, and Thursday does what it can to keep things interesting. Sounding something like the Cure on meth, Thursday is more in the tradition of post-hardcore bands such as At the Drive-In than of its more pop-inflected Jimmy Eat World-ish peers. Thursday relies on the music's pounding aggression to temper Geoff Rickly's Robert Smith-like voice, with screamed backup vocals underscoring Rickly's plaintive wail. The band isn't afraid to let its music degenerate into chaos, which results in a level of emotional intensity that feels like good old cathartic anger, as opposed to the angst that many emo bands deal in. Sure, the girlfriend left, and you feel sad. Now go break something. As amply demonstrated during last summer's Warped Tour, Thursday doesn't hold back in concert. Even after a grueling year spent supporting the latest release, the group ought to match the volume of its songs with an energy that'll whip the crowd into a frenzy.

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