There’s nothing more fun than an amped up crowd that’s at least as excited for a release as a band is; or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, both Wilmington’s Onward, Soldiers and the crowd at the Pour House on Thursday were in fine form for the band’s release party for their sophomore album, Monsters. I wrote about the album a few weeks ago, but it’s even better live — they opened with “Watery Grave” from 2010’s Ghosts In This Town, and then went right through the new disc in order (save “Cinder Blocks”, which is as they made it the perfect show closer).
(Every band should have a perfect show closer, and a perfect encore song; Onward, Soldiers has both in “Cinder Blocks” and “Let The Time Roll On”, which was the first song of the encore.)
Monsters sounds as complex and sincere and sad live as it does recorded, but this band is so much fun live, the center of them with the wildness of singer Sean Gerard Thomas and drummer Kevin Rhodes (who drums with not just his full body, but possibly the full bodies of audience members, too), the sides with the stillness and rootedness of bassist Jarret Dorman and lead guitarist Lincoln Morris. What this show confirmed for me is that Onward, Soldiers have the musical power to break, and to break big, and that’s because they’re better live than they are recorded, and they are great recorded.
Any band that can put together as knock-out an album as Monsters and follow it up with a release show — and I know, historically, from seeing them that they’re always that good live — that’s over the moon, that’s a band that has good things coming. And this is a band that deserves them.
The full set, including a bunch of Churchkey mainstays Hammer No More The Fingers, is here. (I didn’t get any of J Kutchma’s solo set, but man, he sounded great.)