By Keeyahtay Lewis
Last year Thrice announced that they would be going on hiatus after a final tour. For those who know me, it is well known that Thrice is my favorite band. So this made me a little bummed, but I knew it would also mean that I would get a chance to see them at least a couple more times. Thursday night, May 24, was the first of two nights I would be seeing them. They came into NYC with O’Brother and Animals as Leaders in tow for their “Farewell Tour.”
O’Brother was first, and I was pumped to see them. They were on tour with Thrice last year so I knew it would be a good show. Hailing from Atlanta, O’Brother is made up of singer/guitarist Tanner Merritt, Anton and Johnny Dang on bass and guitar, and Michael Martens on drums. They were also joined by a 5th member, who I can’t find a name for, on guitar and sometimes, drums. O’Brother is called an “experimental rock band” and I guess this is fitting, but mostly they just rock.
They came out and opened with Lo, Sputnik, and Machines Part 1 and 2. O’Brother has a sound that is certainly their own, and the energy between the 5 guys on stage is incredible always. Tanner’s vocals are hard to describe. At times high pitched and delicate, and then powerful and on edge in the next second. The band owns every inch of the stage, never staying in one place for more than a few seconds. The soft songs are soft, but the loud songs hit you like a punch in the chest.
They finished out their too short set with Poison!, Lay Down, and the crowd and personal favorite, Ascension. I think that Ascension sums up the band well. It starts slow and soft with ambient noise and and re verb, but then it explodes into a powerhouse song. I think with that song you can hear everything O’Brother is trying to do. I love it.
Next up was Animals as Leaders. I had never heard of them and really didn’t know what to expect. Tosin Abasi on guitar, Javier Reyes on bass, and Matt Garstka on drums. No one on vocals. It took me about two minutes to realize there would be no singing. This, frankly, threw me off completely. Singing and lyrics or so important to me when I am listening to something. Not having any made it difficult for me to watch them play. I don’t think it was just me either. The band sounds incredible together, and the musicianship is all top notch. But after 10 min or so I found myself losing interest, and it was clear to see I wasn’t the only one.
Their set included Wave of Babies, Tempting Time, Earth Departure, An Infinite Regression, Cylindrical Sea, Somnarium, Weightless and CAFO. The songs are definitely all metal/prog rock based and there were moments that were really amazing. But again, for me at least, I can only listen to a guy solo on guitar for so long. I felt like having Animals as Leaders come on after O’Brother brought the energy in the room down a bit.
Next up was the band that the sold out crowd was there to see. The roar that erupted from the crowd when Thrice took the stage was deafening. As soon as they picked up their instruments they launched into Yellow Belly, a roaring track from their latest release, Major/Minor. It was clear in the first 4 seconds that 2000 + people came to get sweaty with their favorite band.
With the next three songs Thrice showed us all that this was going to be a special show: Image of the Invisible, Artist In The Ambulance, and Kill Me Quickly. Clearly Thrice was going to give the show of their lives tonight, a send of that won’t be forgotten. The show spanned all of their albums pretty well. They were definitely playing songs that the people wanted to hear, and I heard them play songs that night I thought I would never hear. The one two punch of Under a Killing Moon and Silhouette kept the energy high, before they brought it back down a bit with In Exile and The Weight.
Thrice has been around for 14 years, the same 4 guys, and I have never heard them sound better. Dustin Kensrue on vocals and guitar, Teppei Ternaishi on lead guitar, and Eddie and Riley Breckenridge on bass and drums. It always amazes me how Thrice manages to create something together that sounds so much more powerful than 4 guys should be able to do together. It was easy to see how much they all love playing together. I have never seen Dustin smile more during a show.
Promises was up next, followed by a song I was so excited to hear live, Daedalus. Before playing the latter, Dustin told the crowd that it was a song the fans voted that they wanted to hear. It sounded incredible live. They continued to bounce around all their albums with the next songs: Words in the Water, Of Dust and Nations, Red Sky, Digital Sea, Firebreather, The Earth Will Shake and Stare at the Sun. Then they launched into Deadbolt, a song they haven’t played on tour in a long time. It is a clear crowd favorite and everyone lost their minds. It showed again, that this “Farewell Tour” really is for the fans. To Awake and Avenge the Dead and Beggars were the last two tracks before the encore.
The band left the stage for a couple of minutes then came back and opened up with a slower song from The Alchemy Index, Come all You Weary. This song was definitely the lull before the storm. The next two songs would threaten to bring the roof of Best Buy Theater down on all of our heads. Phoenix Ignition, and the first song Thrice ever wrote: T & C.
They left one more time as every person screamed for “one more song” then came back out to give everyone what they asked for: one more song, closing out with Anthology. They thanked everyone, took a bow, and left.
24 songs, Thrice played 24 songs for New York City. I can only think of maybe one or two songs I would have loved to hear that they didn’t touch on. But overall, this show was for the fans. As they left the stage and everyone chanted “THANK YOU THRICE” over and over, it was clear to see that the show we had just seen was a love letter to us, the fans.
I spent Thursday and Friday night seeing and shooting, my favorite band, for maybe the last time. It was bittersweet at best. As I said, they played some of the best shows I had ever seen. But not knowing when, or if I would see them again, left me feeling hollow.
I will never be able to thank those guys, Dustin, Teppei, Eddie, Riley, I will never be able to thank them for what they have given me. 10 years ago I remember being at one of their shows just wanting to be able to take pictures of them. Now I have shot them several times, interviewed Riley, gotten a record signed, and more.
I have grown up as they have, and they have never failed to impress me. With the music they make, and the people they are. As I spent the last couple nights with a few thousand people screaming every word along with the band, so many things swelled up in my chest.
I dunno. I feel like there is so much more to say about this, but the bottom line is, I feel grateful that I have been able to be inspired by them. I named my company after their song. They inspired me to shoot music just because I wanted to be able to have a reason to hang out with them.
I literally wouldnâ€™t be the person I am now if it wasnâ€™t for them.
So when it is all said and done, I just want to say thank you. Your fans all over the world will miss you. We will listen to the music, get your lyrics tattooed on us, and wait, breath held for you guys to come back.
But until then, thank you for the memories and the music.
Thank you, Thrice.
All photos courtesy of Keeyahtay Lewis of DeadBoltPhotos.com