Thursday Credit: Nicole Schoen

I’d rather not describe New Jersey posthardcore heroes Thursday in nostalgic tones, but the group played such a part of my early musical development it’s hard not to. I was all of 17 when they flooded my world (or what I chose to understand as my world) through a $5 subscription to Alternative Press I purchased at the 2003 Warped Tour and the public-access music-video program where I first saw a grainy broadcast of the band’s cinematographically erratic video for their single “Signals Over the Air,” from their 2003 album War All the Time (Island/Def Jam). That year, Thursday were the poster boys for what the New York Times dubbed “the Summer of Screamo,” and I had the poster—a massive reproduction of the gritty War All the Time cover attached to foam board—I’d taken from the local Tower Records when it went out of business and proceeded to place on the wall of every college dorm room I lived in till I graduated from Brandeis in 2008. Though Thursday’s place of prominence eventually slipped from my life, their mighty sound and remarkable legacy have remained part of my understanding of what music can mean and how an active band can write their own rules; for front man Geoff Rickly, recording and touring as a major-label artist never stripped away the values he learned throwing basement shows and participating in a punk community. Thursday broke up in 2011, regrouped in 2016, and are now celebrating their 20th anniversary with multishow stints in Los Angeles (or rather, Anaheim), New Jersey, New York, and, luckily, Chicago. In each city they’ll play the two albums that made them seem larger than life, War All the Time and its predecessor, 2001’s Full Collapse (infamously released on Victory). Sure, these albums are emblematic of a time when emo crossed over into the mainstream, but Thursday’s definitive, magnetic character always set them apart from the many emo bands that filled up the lower rungs of the Warped Tour lineup in the mid-aughts despite sounding like they’d taken easy Yellowcard hooks and grafted them onto Taking Back Sunday’s rage and having nothing of note to say. And even fewer of Thursdays peers could capably harness hardcore power, or melodic ingenuity, or lyrical sensitivity the way they did and have continued to do throughout their career.   v