Hailing from Irvine, California, Thrice is a rock band which touts an impressively dynamic catalog – gaining popularity in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s as a post-hardcore outfit, shifting into more experimental territories throughout the mid-to-late ‘00s, and rounding out the early ‘10s with a more straightforward style with a somewhat garage-rock feel. Regardless of era, however, the band’s delivery on each album of raw, powerful emotions through strong melodic and textural sensibility and flawless lyrical phrasing have garnered them masses of fans. These fans were undoubtedly in despair after Thrice announced a “hiatus” in 2012, but were visibly overjoyed at the band’s return this year – if their show in Lawrence, Kansas on June 24th is anything to go by. Thrice’s tour in support of their “return” album, To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere, had packed the Granada Theater to a degree unseen in recent memory – with a line of concertgoers waiting to have their tickets checked that snaked out the front door and down the street, and which was not gone until the direct support’s set had nearly concluded. As such, this review will cover Thrice’s headlining set only.
The foursome modestly took the stage to a completely full house and raucous applause before opening with the first song from their latest album, “Hurricane”. Any worries that the band’s new material may not be well-received were immediately dispelled as a quick glance around the room revealed numerous attendees singing along to every word of the slow, deliberate song. The room was far from filled with newcomers, though, as the same fans could be seen cheering wildly for the following song – one of Thrice’s classics, the crushing “Silhouette” from their breakthrough album, The Artist in the Ambulance.
Fans of new, old, and everything in between had plenty to enjoy throughout the band’s varied set. The latest album populated most of the set list, with a total of six songs being selected from it. This new material offered many of the standout moments of the show, including a beautifully emotional outro to “The Long Defeat”, in which the entire band faded out, save for frontman Dustin Kensrue’s lonely guitar strumming, over which the crowd was invited to sing the refrain. New tracks “Blood on the Sand” and “Death From Above” also translated wonderfully to a live environment, with bouncing rhythms and solemn austerity, respectively, giving even the most seasoned Thrice fan plenty of novel experiences.
To fill out the rest of the set, the band pulled mostly from their landmark album Vheissu, forgoing its singles and instead reaching a bit deeper for songs like “Of Dust and Nations” and “For Miles” – each faring well on stage with their hypnotic lead guitar lines. Many other albums were touched on once or twice, with highlights including the epic mythological melodrama “Daedalus” from The Alchemy Index and the stinging headbanger “Cold Cash and Colder Hearts” from The Artist in the Ambulance. The band ended their sizeable 20-song set with a 3-song encore, which touched on a couple of expected fan favorites, as well as a deeper cut – undoubtedly a nod to those who have stuck with the band since their earliest years.
In the end, the fans have proven to be overwhelmingly thankful to have their favorite band back – both on the road and in studio. After witnessing Thrice’s powerful return to the stage, one is certain to feel the full gravity of the situation – to have this rare and talented group of artists back in town after such a period of uncertainty is nothing short of a blessing.
Visit Thrice and order To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere at their website here.