The Thermals may have moved to Saddle Creek Records for their latest album, but frontman Hutch Harris showed some Seattle pride at the Doug Fir, sporting a Hardly Art shirt, which, along with the rest of Harris, was inevitably soaked by the end of their live set.
It’s been ten years since the local Pacific Northwestern band released their debut album, More Parts Per Million, (recording cost a mere $60) on Sub Pop Records. While traversing a decade of lineup and label changes, the lo-fi Portlanders released five more albums, including this year’s “fast, cheap, and out of control” Desperate Ground. The Thermals’ raw sound lends itself well to rowdy live shows and fan sing alongs with singer/guitarist Hutch Harris, bassist Kathy Foster and drummer Westin Glass amping up the energy on stage. Opening with a new track from Desperate Ground, the group skipped around their debut decade smartly, their sound consistent throughout the set.
From their witty website to their positive stage presence, The Thermals have maintained a good sense of humor over the years. When he wasn’t (figuratively) smacking the crowd in the face with his drumming, Glass was miming along with Harris’ lyrics during songs like “Faces Stay With Me.” Ramping up their hometown crowd with their closing song, 2007’s “A Pillar of Salt,” The Thermals left the Doug Fir to blend back in with their dedicated Portland fans.