City Paper is not for tourists
When punkish Portland-based band The Thermals performed at a “sold out” Bernie Sanders rally in its hometown last month, it felt like a fitting launch to the band’s latest rendition of head bobbing, anthemic pop songs, heard this time on 2016’s We Disappear. At the rally, lead singer Hutch Harris tore through an acoustic rendition of the group’s most famous song, “Now We Can See,” as the rest of the band’s members awkwardly swayed and clapped and danced around, cheering for their preferred candidate and maybe, just a little bit, for themselves. By now, The Thermals has been around for a decade and a half, and its fans range from dads reliving The Hold Steady’s glory days to younger indie fans raised on the semi-political, semi-personal howls of Titus Andronicus and Japandroids. There’s a West Coast fuzz to its records, but it’s ultimately Harris and bassist Kathy Foster’s self-aware, pop-leaning songwriting that casts its newest effort in a firm confidence, proving to critics and fans that the band still deserves to be around, making emotive guitar rock. The Thermals perform with Summer Cannibals and Amanda X at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com.