Published Jun 01, 2004Jocks ruin everything. From the moment openers Spitalfield hit the stage they were forced to contend with constant booing and raised middle fingers from the wife-beater and crew cut crowd. They played an energetic set in spite of the negative crowd response and horrendous sound, courtesy of the concrete hole that is the Kool Haus, and left those who actually chose to pay attention impressed by their Jimmy Eat World-inspired poppy emo. Engine Down faced a similarly icy reception, which eventually culminated in bassist Jason Wood jumping into the crowd in order to deal properly with a particularly disrespectful meathead. The band continued on and won over many in attendance, not only with their "take no shit" attitude but with their darkly forceful brand of emotive rock. Even before Poison The Well set foot on the stage, two huge circle pits were already being created in preparation for the band's arrival. Despite drummer Chris Hornbrook's illness, the band gave a ridiculously tight and heavy performance, overcoming the sonic limitations of the venue and blasting through a set that drew heavily on the band's latest release, You Come Before You. Playing up both their sullenly melodic and punishing aggressive tendencies, vocalist Jeffery Moreira led the crowd through steep emotional peaks and valleys before the set culminated with the straight-ahead thrash of "Crystal Lake." Finally, headliners Thursday offered up a near-perfect example of how to succeed as a big ticket punk band. While some still question the group's move to Island Records, they left little room for doubt in their celebratory hour-and-half long performance. Somehow succeeding in making the cavernous Kool Haus feel like a tinier venue, the band blasted through both old and new tracks, including the anthem "Jet Black New Year," whose poetic countdown culminated in confetti cannons exploding into the crowd. Leaving no audience member untouched by their emotional performance, Thursday proved growing up doesn't have to mean selling out.