Live: Changing Your Life For The Better. The Thermals, XOYO.

Whilst throngs amass outside nigh on every Hoxton hangout, suitably, underground heroes and heroine The Thermals are entertaining the most boisterous bunch of the lot deep in the grubby doldrums of Cowper Street's XOYO. Rammed to the rafters, you know it's hot and steamy when girls are sweating, and by the time It's Trivia thunders in three songs down the line, Kathy Foster's dripping. Enthralling for a little over an hour, the Portland trio shred through a setlist the length of that U2 are presumably planning to slap down on the Pyramid Stage come June. They play 21 songs, plus encore. And you can bet your bottom buck they're at least 21,000 times more thrilling than Glastonbury's Friday night headliners.
If latest LP Personal Life was caught by the fuzz somewhat, occasionally mudded by Tube Screamer sludge, live, tonight's opener I Don't Believe You is veritably visceral, whilst the segueing Not Like Any Other Feeling sees Hutch Harris shimmy through an extensive catalogue of power stances with vigour. It's the pious undertones of cuts lifted from seminal 2006 record The Body, The Blood, The Machine however that induce befitting levels of copious rejoicing, St. Rosa And The Swallows rollocking everything between us and The Old Blue Last. As Here's Your Future and I Might Need You To Kill veer into view mid-set, bodies are folding over the crumpled barrier like origami, eyeballs bulging out of skulls as if said bodies were gigantic, irregular Halloween stress balls, whilst Power Lies is equally limb-crunching, a brawny, hulking slacker anthem that is, in The Thermals' very own words, Fuckin' A. The urgent shards of guitar octave of Returning To The Fold are wonkily and wonderfully offset by Harris' articulate drawl, Westin Glass beaming ingenuously all the while before open plaster backdrop. If XOYO was intended to aesthetically resemble some sort of Hackney Wick warehouse and you were wanting to conjure a faux-DIY feckless punk bash, you'd book in this bunch for Now We Can See alone, as the mass that's practically melted into one by this point bounds and stomps on concrete flooring, threatening to fall through and tumble down to Australasia. After an hour more relentless as one spent inside Wayne Coyne's hamster ball in a tumble dryer, A Pillar Of Salt brings proceedings to a controlledly reckless close, as every article of clothing worn could indeed do with a tumble dry.