June 29, 2016 Thrice Epic In Visit To NYC 6-16-16 w/ Gates & La Dispute
Sometimes a break is all one needs to recharge creative inspiration. Initially formed back in 1998, Southern California’s Thrice had spent most of their adult life a part of the band, and a lot can change in that span of time. With each of the four members only teenagers when they first came together, Dustin Kensrue, Teppei Teranishi, Eddie Breckenridge, as well as Riley Breckenridge built a foundation for something special with aggressive music met with meaningful lyrics, dubbing them positive praise on such releases as 2002’s The Illusion of Safety, 2003’s The Artist in the Ambulance, and beyond. Then a much needed break was in order for the band, and after a hiatus between 2012 and 2015, Thrice returned just as promised. Now armed with their ninth studio album, To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere, Thrice hit the road with Gates and La Dispute for a “comeback” tour that began June 3rd. Just a week following the release of the new material on May 27th, the tour was met by a sold out crowd on Thursday, June 16th, at Playstation Theater in New York City. Not a surprise whatsoever as this was a moment fans had been waiting for, but good things come to those who wait.
First up was the band known as Gates out of New Brunswick, New Jersey. A five-piece outfit who are a cross between Thrice and Moving Mountains, since 2011 Gates have been touring endlessly, thus building a following in grass-roots fashion. Now supporting their latest album, 2016’s Parallel Lives, Gates were ready to kick-start the night.
Opening with the mellow piece “The Thing That Would Save You,” off of 2014’s Bloom and Breathe, Guitarist/Vocalist Kevin Dye led the way with a calmly raging voice. Complemented by Dan King on guitar, Mike Maroney on bass, Ethan Koozer on guitar, and Daniel Crapanzano on drums, they played on with a track called “Habit” off their newest record. A melancholy, easy-breezy cut, they concluded their abbreviated set with other melodic gems such as “Low,” “Shiver,” and “Not My Blood.” Although their time on stage was brief, it was a good demonstration of their chops as they prove to be a band on the rise.
Next up was Michigan based Post Hardcore band La Dispute. Together for over a decade now, La Dispute’s experimental style has distinguished themselves over the course of three studio albums and a long list of EP’s. Their most recent EP, 2016’s Tiny Dots, comes just months after the compelling documentary by the same name. Touring the world over, and being extremely giving to charitable organizations, the documentary is a must watch for any La Dispute fan who has not seen it yet. With that said, Vocalist Jordan Dreyer, Guitarist Chad Sterenberg, Bassist Adam Vass, Drummer Brad Vander Lugt, and Touring Guitarist Corey Stroffolino were ready to bring their extraordinary brand of music to the packed New York City audience at Playstation Theater.
Approaching the stage to a rousing ovation, they began with “All Our Bruised Bodies and the Whole Heart Shrinks.” Slowly building, the song climaxed to a loud thunderous yell with Dreyer capturing the audience with his sincere delivery. Following with “Harder Harmonies,” emotional chaos consumed the room as Dreyer stomped around the stage. Calming things down a bit with “Woman (In Mirror),” the heavier “Scenes from Highways, 1981-2009” saw the band climbing up the aggression ladder once more as more people began to sway along. “For Mayor in Splitsville” seemed to mellow the mood out once again, but it was only the calm before the storm that was “Stay Happy There” as Dreyer’s chaotic voice erupted.
True to a pattern that began to form, it was like waves of an ocean as one thunderous track followed by a more tranquil piece such as “Woman (Reading)” where Dreyer’s raw, poetic vibes captivated the audience. Keeping everyone on their toes, the jolting lyrical content continued through “Hudsonville, MI 1951” and the upbeat closer “Kings Park,” which ignited a mosh pit, almost as a final release of emotion. Those who have seen La Dispute are aware of their ability to provoke a feeling. Whatever that feeling is, that is up to the listener. Either way, this band is certainly one of a kind and a must see.
Opening the flood gates to true pandemonium, Thrice was the final act of the already telling night of music. Also known for their raw, poetic, and human approach, Thrice had fans packing as close to the stage as possible with not a soul wanting to miss a moment of what was ahead.
Met by a sea of screams, Kensrue approached his microphone calmly, almost expecting the chaotic response before the band launched into the exciting “Hurricane.” Projecting a loud, thunderous voice, Kensrue had the crowd rumbling like a massive earthquake. Having a lot of ground to cover, Thrice moved on with 2003’s “Silhouette” with more shattering screams from Kensrue before he calmly greeted the crowd moments later. Full of poetry, yet so aggressive, Kensrue’s style is impossible to replicate. This was never more evident than during the offerings of “Of Dust and Nations” and “All the World Is Mad.” Complemented by haunting guitar tones, the lengthy set zig-zagged between new and old material that included 2007’s “Backdraft” and 2009’s “Wood and Wire,” as well as first time live experiences of tracks such as “Black Honey” and “Stay With Me.”
Immersed deeply in the music, the band dragged the audience deep into the whirlwind as it moved on at a rapid pace. Examples of the band’s power could be seen throughout the performance and one of the most vivid moments was during “The Long Defeat” when everyone chanted as one, “Together we’ll fight the long defeat.” Later, “The Sky is Falling” showcased Kensrues highest pitch while “Daedalus” offered a perfectly hazy guitar riff and “Cold Cash and Colder Hearts” gained massive amounts attention as people belted out the lyrics.
Allowing themselves and the audience a chance to recoup after each song, every member of Thrice took the time to share how gracious they were for the support. A give and take relationship, the fans packing out Playstation Theater reciprocated that same feeling as they devoured the last portion of the set that included mosh worthy “Hold Fast Hope,” mature, yet aggressive new song “Blood on the Sand,” and favorite, thought-provoking “For Miles.” Fulfilled, a request for more came as everyone cheered for Thrice to return to the stage for an encore. Always the giving type, Thrice responded with a three song encore that began with “The Artist in the Ambulance,” before “In Years to Come,” and finally, “The Earth Will Shake.”
With no rust on their bones after some downtime, Thrice are as vital as ever in the live arena. Their ability to bring each song to life is not only as good as the studio recordings, but better. Here is to the end of the hiatus and hopes for a bright future for this exceptional band.