While they share a similar lineage in the annals of emo, or whatever folks want to call it these days, Long Island's Taking Back Sunday and New Jersey's Thursday are going in two very different directions, as their tour opener last night at Denver's 900-capacity Summit Music Hall bore out. While TBS have reformed the original lineup that recorded 2002's breakthrough Tell All Your Friends, and their new, self-titled album taps into that vintage sound, Thursday are pushing the boundaries with the moody, ethereal sound of their latest, No Devolucion.
Half of Thursday's nine-song, 50-minute set came from that effort, starting with the intensely slick first track, "Fast to the End." Most of the new songs, including "No Answers" and "Sparks Against the Sun," were accompanied by video backdrops featuring beating hearts, cartoons, fireworks, and atom bombs, and they were entrancing, if not just a clever tactic to make the less familiar material more engaging.
The new single, "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart" has already caught on, as frontman Geoff Rickly was nowhere near the only person thrashing about. Fan favorites "Understanding in a Car Crash" and "Cross out the Eyes" both ended with Rickly screaming the final lyrics with his back to the crowd and dramatically collapsing backwards.
After walking on stage to tornado sirens, TBS launched into "El Paso," the opener off Taking Back Sunday, which hits stores on June 28. The incessant cheering seemed as inspired by the reunited lineup as the new songs. Before belting out "Bike Scene," from Tell All Your Friends, Lazzara introduced his formerly estranged guitarist-keyboardist-vocalist-songwriter John Nolan by calling him his best friend, a hint that whatever problems they had with each other appear to be long gone. Throughout the show, he reiterated his man-love for Nolan by bowing to him and praising his greatness, and Nolan responded with show-stealing guitar solos, especially on "Spin."
Alongside a walloping amount of fan favorites such as "Timberwolves at New Jersey," "A Decade Under the Influence," and "You're So Last Summer, " the 19-song set also included a surprise: "Existentialism on Prom Night," a cut from Straylight Run, the band Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper formed after leaving TBS. With so many bygones clearly being bygones at this point, there was no more fitting closer to the tour's opening night than "There's No 'I' in Team."