Review and Photos by special guest correspondent Michel Dussack
When Thrice announced that they would be going on an extended hiatus back in November, they also announced that they would be embarking on one more tour, and that it would be the last for the foreseeable future. This ‘Farewell Tour’ sees Thrice headlining some of the biggest venues of their career, including a sold out show at New York’s Best Buy Theater. Along with them on the tour are two extremely different support bands – Atlanta’s O’Brother and the Washington D.C. based Animals as Leaders.
First up was O’Brother
who delivered a 30 minute set of near constant head banging. The only way to describe them is heavy. Throughout their set, they alternated between having three guitarists at once at some points, or two guitarists and two drummers at others.
Vocalist Tanner Merritt gets more confident every time I’ve seen this band, with him extending screams to great length this time. Guitarist Johnny Dang creates a wall of riffs and feedback while maintaining a delicate balance of the two so as to not be off-putting. Their set left the audience clamoring for more, and when the show was over, there was a fairly large crowd gathering to speak to them at their merch table.
Next was Animals as Leaders who played a 45 minute set without a single vocal sung. Yes, they’re an instrumental band, but more importantly they’re a progressive metal band who makes great music. When they first took the stage there were three microphones lining the stage, however as the set progressed a roadie would emerge and remove one at a time until there was only one left for lead guitarist Tosin Abasi to communicate with the crowd in between songs. Both Abasi and rhythm guitarist Javier Reyes play 8-string guitars, something not typically seen in your average rock band, but fairly common in progressive bands. New to the band Matt Garstka rounded out the band’s sound on drums, and the crowd seemed to enjoy their set, though towards the end, many people seemed more than ready for Thrice to take the stage.
Thrice did more than just take the stage when they walked out to play what would be a marathon of a 24 song set that encompassed every album they’ve put out and lasted almost two hours – they sent the crowd into a frenzy. They opened with a newer hit ‘Yellow Belly’ before transitioning into some of their most popular older material such as ‘Image of the Invisible’ to which the crowd was screaming the chorus along with vocalist Dustin Kensrue and ‘The Artist in the Ambulance’. More bands should take note – if you want to set the energy high for the night, start off with some of your heavier tracks and the pits and crowd surfing will follow.
It’d be impossible to do a track by track recap of what was played, but it should be noted that whether it was a track from their first album or their most recent, the crowd sang along with all their hearts. This wasn’t a somber concert as one would expect from a farewell show, this was a celebration of all that Thrice has accomplished. Of particular note, was the closing of the main set with longtime fan favorite ‘Deadbolt’ which had only been played twice in the period between 2008 and this tour, ‘To Awake and Avenge the Dead’, and finally ‘Beggars’. The last of these, Kensrue explained was a song about being grateful for everything they have.
When the band returned for a three song encore, they started off with a softer and newer song ‘Come All You Weary’ before leading into the best part of the show. Two tracks from their first album ‘Identity Crisis’ back to back – first ‘Phoenix Ignition’, which is typically played at Thrice show, but then something special. Kensrue introduced the next song as “really old” and stated that it was one of the first songs the band had worked on and that it had long be retired from live sets. ‘T & C’ followed and seemed to be the one song that some of the newer fans didn’t know. Regardless, the energy from the members who did know the song (and understood how special it was to hear) more than carried the crowd through it. The band then slipped off the stage, and some of the crowd began to file out of the venue, after all, the band had already played their encore.
Thrice is a band that has progressed throughout their entire career. They started off as post-hardcore and since then have been changing up their sound consistently, never releasing two similar albums. Somehow, it seems they manage to outdo themselves on each latest album. They have developed a loyal and dedicate fan base, and are now putting it all on hold to be with their families, something no one can get upset about, especially after the 8 incredible albums they’ve given us. So for now, we say goodbye to Thrice, knowing that this break is not permanent, that they’ll be back (hopefully sooner rather than later) and better than ever.
• Yellow Belly
• Image of the Invisible
• The Artist in the Ambulance
• Kill Me Quickly
• Under a Killing Moon
• In Exile
• The Weight
• Words in the Water
• Of Dust and Nations
• Red Sky
• Digital Sea
• The Earth Will Shake
• Stare at the Sun
• To Awake and Avenge the Dead
• Come All You Weary
• Phoenix Ignition
• T & C