Underoath / Thursday Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON February 13
Published Feb 14, 2011Underoath's draw should not be questioned. But despite the band headlining, it was a fair assumption to expect Thursday's fan base to rival that of the popular metalcore sextet.
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Thursday's most wide-reaching album, Full Collapse, they joined a growing list of bands to mark the occasion by playing the album in its entirety. Loose and without inhibition, the six-piece raced through the record with unbelievable energy. If Thursday are tired of playing their decade-old record, they didn't let on. In fact, these relics sounded better now than ever. Unfortunately, it appeared that only a few faithful near the front shared the band's enthusiasm, while most of the crowd came across as uninterested.
So, that assumption was blown out of the water, especially when Underoath came onstage, an event that caused the audience to flood towards the front of the room.
Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain slithered across the stage, flailing his long hair and motioning to the crowd. Everyone (from the front of the room all the way up to the balcony) responded exactly as he directed, whether it was to put their arms in the air, clap or jump -- quite the feat, especially when the crowd was so tepid during Thursday's set.
However, despite the servant-like response of the audience, Underoath are in an unenviable position, which came to the fore during their set when the new material failed to draw the same reaction as the old. The darker, moodier songs of their latest album Ø (Disambiguation) came through with fierce beauty. Seeing Chamberlain fall into his own world while singing, alongside bassist Grant Brandell and guitarist Tim McTague looking more engaged than ever before, it's clear that, musically, they're in the best spot of their career.
However, it was clearly their early screamo-tinged material that fans wanted the most. After playing new song "Illuminator," the crowd went silent -- no one knew how to respond. "Are you guys alive out here?" Chamberlain asked. "Is Toronto done with Underoath tonight?"
It was a picture of a band's fan base unable to move with their progression. And while Underoath didn't stray from their set, which sounded phenomenal and far better than in years past, there was a hint of sadness from the stage as the realization sank in that things aren't the way they used to be.