SXSW: The Thermals careen through new, old

Hutch Harris of The Thermals shreds his guitar during a performance at The Parish during SXSW.

Hutch Harris barely stopped to say hello.

Only the start of The Thermals’  half-hour set at The Parish, a short drum kit malfunction and the end of the concert brought him pause to say anything.

Instead, about all we got from the Portland punk band was some feedback between tunes before Harris, Kathy Foster and Westin Glass careened into the next tune.

They started with “Faces Stay With Me” from their upcoming album, “Desperate Ground,” which releases on Saddle Creek Records on April 16.

The Thermals played that song, “Born To Kill” (the blistering lead single from the album), “You Will Be Free” (that includes a “you will be free/you will be free soon again” singalong… excellent), “The Sunset” (with its head-bopping guitar riff) as well as old favorites such as “Returning to the Fold” and “No Culture Icons.”

I’d never seen the band, so I was very happy to see that they smashed into their songs even harder live than they do on record (which is still pretty slammin’).

Kathy Foster of The Thermals dances and plays bass during the band’s set at The Parish during SXSW.

Several times, Harris hopped down into the mosh pit and danced around while he shredded on his guitar. Glass dove in once, too, leaving only Foster onstage.

Foster never stopped moving. As she thumped the bass, she bobbed her head constantly, which left her blonde bangs popping up and down.

After the last song, which included another huge mosh pit, they thanked the audience, plugged the record and then high-fived everyone and handed out posters and guitar picks.

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