By Keeyahtay Lewis
I will say the thing I looked forward to most this year took place on Friday night; Thrice came into town. Their fans are loyal and ravenous. I feel like the guys don’t tour often, so whenever they do they do not hold back at all. I can also say that they consistently bring pretty amazing bands on tour with them. On that night, October 14, Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ was in for a real treat.
Opening the show were the pretty incredible band out of Atlanta, O’Brother. I got the chance to talk to the drummer for Thrice, Riley, before the show and he mentioned the new O’Brother album as one he was looking forward to. It is easy to see why. Led by Tanner Merrit, they wasted no time whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Loud when needed, and at other times almost delicate. The rhythm section kept the beats flowing into the audience, and the heads nodded along the whole time.
Next up were the band out of Westchester, Moving Moutains. Another band that took command of the stage. Atmospheric and powerful would absolutely be two words that came to mind while they were playing. But this sound was punctuated at times by incredible, well placed screams. Their brand of spaced out rock kept everyone’s attention. Judging by the amount of kids singing along, everyone was super pumped to see these guys play.
Michigan’s La Dispute took the stage third in line. The spoken word hardcore style of this band was almost a shock after the first two acts, but the band’s energy was undeniable. La Dispute has racked up a ton of fans as well as accolades since forming in 2004, all well deserved. Singer Jordan Dreyer literally never stops moving. Never. Stops. Moving. Shuffling and strutting across the stage, such passion in his voice. At various times he jumped into the crowd where kids grabbed onto him and screamed every word at the top of their lungs. It was pretty amazing to see.
Finally taking the stage after these three incredible bands was Thrice. The crowd started chanting their name long before they came out, and as soon as they stepped out into the lights the place erupted. Ripping into one of their stellar new tracks, “Yellow Belly,” it was clear to see that they were as ready to play these songs live as everyone was to hear them. At times during this song the crowd singing drowned out Dustin Kensrue’s voice. It was clear that everyone was pretty well versed in the new album. Next up from Beggars was “The Weight” followed by another new song, “Promises.” They kept the set list to mostly Beggars and the new album Major/Minor but about half way through they pulled out “Silhouette” and “Cold Cash, Colder Hearts” from the fan favorite album, Artist in the Ambulance. To say that the place exploded when these songs came on would be the understatement of the year. It was incredible.
Live, Thrice sounds bigger than the 4 guys creating the music. The passion in Dustin’s voice while he sings these songs that mean so much to all of us is something that everyone can feel. Teppei and Dustin trade guitar licks back and forth. And the Breckenridge brothers, Ed and Riley keep everything moving along nicely. It is easy to see that Thrice love their fans, and they love playing music. The new song “Words in the Water” and the slightly older one, “Circles” sound gorgeous live. They may have started out as a hardcore band but over the years Thrice have shown themselves to be much more than any label put on them. Before coming back for an encore they closed out the set with the powerful “The Earth Will Shake” and the equally powerful new “Anthology.” The band left the stage and returned shortly while the crowd chanted “Encore!!!” and quite an Encore it was. I don’t think anyone expected what came next. The one two punch of “Phoenix Ignition” and “To Awake and Avenge The Dead.” These songs from their first two albums sounded amazing, even now. Fast, loud and pretty perfect. They definitely played these songs for the crowd but at one point the guys all looked at each other with the biggest smiles, clearly they were enjoying this blast from the past as well.
Thrice is my favorite band and everytime I see them play I reminded why. I don’t think there has been another band like them in a long time. Able to go from straight up metal to hauntingly delicate in the next breath, it is amazing to see. I can honestly say I don’t think I have seen an overall better night of music in a long time. There were no filler bands on this tour. Every band brought something amazing to the table and every band left an impression on all of us. If you have the chance to check this tour out you should absolutely be there.
All photos courtesy of Keeyahtay Lewis of DeadBoltPhotos