SANTA BARBARA, CA
The last time we caught up with Thermals was at the 2013 Noise Pop Festival at San Francisco's Rickshaw Stop, where they were just introducing material from the then forthcoming Desperate Ground, and focusing primarily on the re-release of PPM. A year down the road, with the songs road tested and ready, Desperate Ground proved the cornerstone of a high velocity 20 song set. As observed last year, with drummer Westin Glass settled in, this is truly the vintage Thermals lineup, able to change up on a dime, and with a ferocious command of a weighty back catalogue. Razor sharp takes on "The Sunset", "Faces Stay With Me", and "The Sword By My Side" stood out, and the crowd went ballistic for tracks from 2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine. Personal highlight of the night was seeing an old friend's young daughter seeing the band for the first time, which, if possible, heightened the excitement even more.
As for Colleen Green, it was just a week removed since seeing her open the Vivian Girls LA farewell show, and this was her second stint as an opener for Thermals. The comfort translated, and while still rocking just guitar and drum machine, the clutch of songs from last year's Sock It To Me more than held up against the classics like "I Wanna Be Degraded". Watching her hit her zone and turn audiences around has been a pleasure, and that confidence will fuel her future work. When put on the spot for a description, what came out was: "She'll kick your butt like a one-woman Ronettes", and I'm okay sticking with that.