Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Growing Up With: Thursday

When I saw that the band Thursday was back out on the road and playing a show at the Webster Theater in Hartford, I knew I had to get in touch with them. Everyone has a bond with a band that will never separate throughout the years. Thursday is my band. They were the first band I ever photographed live, which led to my interest in photojournalism. Their pure emotion and energy on stage gave the perfect sense for what anyone could look for in a live performance and they did it so effortlessly. Six years later, Thursday continues to release records and is finally back on the road after a short hiatus.

For Tucker Rule, Thursday’s drummer, playing music is all about having fun and doing it with your friends.

Edward Gaug: Let’s start off with the album because that’s the biggest thing right now. You just released Common Existence and are beginning to tour with it. How has this experience been compared to your past albums?

Tucker Rule: It’s been cool man, there’s not a whole lot of pressure on us right now. We wrote a record we really love and we really believe in, so it’s just more fun. We’re back on the road for the first time in a little while, so it’s nice to be back out here and supporting this record.

EG: It comes through when you listen to the album that this is definitely something that you guys did for you. Not to make it sound selfish, but this is an album that you wanted to make rather than the record label wanting you to make.

TR: Absolutely. Thankfully with our label, they didn’t put any pressure on us. They were just like, “We love you guys and whatever you are going to do is going to be cool.”

EG: I got word from a friend of mine who got to see you in San Jose, Calif. this past weekend and he said that you guys haven’t missed a step, even though you haven’t toured in a couple years. Touring now, do you see a difference from when you put out Waiting or Full Collapse in your twenties and where you are now in your thirties?

TR: Yeah definitely. It’s a lot different because everyone is getting older with us. We’re still seeing the same faces; everybody’s just a little older now. You definitely have to take care of yourself a little more on the road when you’re older. Those wounds don’t heal as quickly and bones are getting a little tired.

EG: You must be having a lot of fun, because in an age where bands go through changes and you guys have been the same group of friends since 1999. There’s not a whole lot of movement in Thursday.

TR: No, there’s no movement, no turmoil. We’re all on the same page and when you’re in a band for over 10 years, you have to be on the same page to stay that long and I feel like I’m with a bunch of dudes that understand me and we understand each other. It’s not about fads or fashion phases with us. It’s all about writing music and having a fun time.

EG: One thought that came to mind when listening to the new album was that if you had released this album 10 years ago, do you think you could have put out an album like this and do you think people would have listened to it?

TR: That’s a hard question. I don’t think we would have been able to put out an album like this, as far as our technical prowess at actually playing. This stuff is a little more intricate - it’s faster, so I don’t think that these songs would have translated back then either. I think having that whole movement start, it had to come from a more raw place. This album is a little more technically advanced for us. I think that comes with time and age.

EG: You definitely see that progression from where you started with Waiting to where you are now. You start off the new album really strong and then you hit all the levels that you would want to hear in a Thursday album. You definitely hit everything that people look for. It has to be tough to put out albums and have people always look back to Full Collapse and have that as your judging point considering that was your second album.

TR: It is tough and I noticed a lot on this tour that people are coming up and saying, “I can’t wait to hear you guys play, it will be like going back to my childhood.” It brings back a lot of good memories and that’s really cool. I feel like Thursday, especially around the Full Collapse era, had a time and a place. It had sort of an impact on the people who listened to our band. It’s kind of rad.

EG: The same people who were getting through high school with Full Collapse are now graduating college and starting careers with Common Existence. Your fans are getting to that age now. I think the music is really evolving with your fans, as well as yourselves.

TR: That’s what the hope was. This record is everything we ever did, in one record. It has the experimental shit from A City by the Light Divided, it has the energy of Waiting and Full Collapse and it also has the melodies from War All the Time. I think we smashed it all into one record and I think people who liked our band way back when, they’re still hear the nuances in our record and remember that. The experimental shit might seem toned down. They’ll see it’s a mix of everything.

EG: As the band progresses and members are having kids, does this affect the way you guys are writing music and the way you’re going about the band?

TR: For sure man, we have a dude in our band that has two kids now and it’s hard. Touring gets a lot harder because there are some tours that he might not be able to go on in the future because obviously he wants to spend time with his kids and help his wife, so it is difficult, but it’s the best thing for him and the best thing for the band. It gives us a human perspective on how to not kill ourselves on the road. We have the capacity to do eight or nine months out of the year, but when you take a step back and think we’re all getting older and have people at home that care about us.

For the rest of my interview with Thursday, check out The Recorder.

Bonus Material: My buddy Gitamba over at The Retrospective did a great audio/photo mashup.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Food Review: Tao's Asian Bistro

Finding Asian cuisine in central Connecticut is like shooting fish in a barrel. With such an overabundance of Chinese and Japanese food locally, it becomes more and more difficult to be impressed by a restaurant that serves it exclusively. Tao Asian Bistro managed to fight through the slew of terrible take-out and proves to be one of the state’s top-notch Asian-fusion spots.

As you arrive at The Exchange in Farmington, you are confronted with a group of entrances that display the plaza’s bars and restaurants. Once you reach Tao’s main entrance, you are greeted with a set of stairs that lead to a sprawling dining room with walls painted in bright colors that bring to mind Chuck E Cheese more than it does as moderately priced restaurant.

As you descend the stairs, you have a couple different options in front of you. A choice between a traditional booth, table with four chairs, hibachi grill table or private seating areas for four that are blocked off from the rest of the dining room with bamboo shutters.

The decision was easy; the private dining is a great way to catch up with your fellow diners as you wait for waitress to bring over glasses of water and menus. Though the restaurant wasn’t incredibly busy on a cold Thursday night, the waitstaff was warm and friendly, checking in every few minutes to see if anything was needed.

Once menus are distributed, patrons are presented with an expansive selection that focuses on traditional Chinese fare alongside a sushi-heavy Japanese collection that give enough choices, even for the pickiest of diners.
As with most Asian-fusions, miso soup and salad start all entrees, giving the chef enough time to prepare the meal. In the case of Tao’s, the miso soup relied heavily on tofu cubes that overpower the normally balanced taste of miso soup. The salad was very bland with little dressing to mask the flavor of the wilted greens that were a day past ripe. The openers weren’t great, but this shouldn’t take away from the actual meal though.

The meal, once it arrives, is abundant and filling. The General Tso’s chicken was covered in a thick, spicy pepper sauce that blends well with the assorted veggies plated with it. The chicken, usually prepared as a dark meat dish, was prepared as exclusively with white meat. This variance made for a much more enjoyable. The mixed veggies, which included sliced carrots, broccoli and mushrooms absorbed most of the chicken’s heat, making the dish more palatable and not overwhelming. Only the mushrooms were disappointing, solely due to their softness that gave off a bad taste in the mouth. The size of the dishes also applied to the vegetable tempura and sushi platters. Leaving this restaurant feeling hungry just is not possible.

While Chinese food maintains to be a staple of our 24-7 lifestyles, sacrificing quality isn’t a prerequisite. Fine dining, large portions and multitudes of flavor are just a short drive down I-84 at Tao’s Asian Bistro in Farmington.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Introduction

Why am I writing a blog about the Arts and Entertainment scene in the state of Connecticut? Simple, it's for a class I'm taking. OK well there is more to it than that. i have been covering things in the local music and entertainment scene as a college journalist for the past 3 years and I tend to like what i do. Over the next few months (possibly longer if this things gets some readers) I will be reviewing and critiquing all the things CT has to offer. I will be checking out restaurants, bars, venues, concerts, art exhibits and any other things that would pop on a A&E blog. I will also live blog via my Twitter from events.

Hope someone find this useful or entertaining.