“Love is a loyalty sworn.”
Words far too easy to speak as lip service. Words far more difficult to live by. Nevertheless, even after three years spent on hiatus, fans had not forgotten about Thrice. Some got a small amount of solace in May, as singer Dustin Kensrue made a solo stop at the Summit Music Hall, which was coincidentally the last place the full band played in Denver back in June 2012. At Riot Fest on Saturday however, fans were treated to the real thing; and it was like they never left.
Thrice, whose live itinerary this year has been largely limited to a homecoming show and a few stops on the festival circuit, seemingly haven’t missed a beat. The band was more than in sync, and was extremely straightforward in their approach. There wasn’t much chatter in between songs, as they instead let their music speak for them.
Thrice’s set opened with “Of Dust and Nations,” befitting of their surroundings at the National Western Complex, where the crowd was covered in a haze, a victim to the rustic venue. A little dirt in the air did nothing to sully their spirits; as they sang, screamed, clapped (sometimes off-beat), danced and moshed along to the music.
The entire audience provided backing vocals during “The Artist and the Ambulance.” It was during “Silhouette” however, that they truly erupted. The circle pit became increasingly frenetic, transforming into perhaps the most intense seen at the festival to that point.
Although “Red Sky” and “Trust” were nowhere to be found on their setlist, Thrice largely played the songs the people wanted to hear. They meticulously ran through songs such as “All That’s Left,” “Stare at the Sun,” and “Deadbolt.” In truth, they offered a retrospective of their entire career in a single song, playing “Anthology,” which revisits the themes, keys and progressions of several of their other tracks.
The fact that they craft such conceptually complex songs, coupled with their advanced progressions and structures, speaks to their unparalleled grasp of music theory. Theory alone means nothing, as you must also be able to execute. Again, Thrice proved more than up to the task. Kensrue’s screams were visceral. Teppei Teranishi’s virtuoso guitar work was ambient and hypnotizing (his meedlies during “Deadbolt” were especially on point). The Breckenridge brothers (Eddie on bass, Riley on drums) displayed not only their God-given chemistry, but that which they have developed with the other members. Every note, every chord has a purpose in Thrice; and it all flowed together seamlessly.
Thrice closed their set with “The Earth Will Shake,” and it did. The ground in the fury of the mosh pit. The audience in a sea of screams and thunderous applause. After a three-year layoff, Thrice repaid their fans’ patience with an epic performance, one that won’t soon forgotten. Hopefully, one that won’t take three years to replicate this time.
- Of Dust and Nations
- The Artist in the Ambulance
- In Exile
- All That’s Left
- Under a Killing Moon
- Stare at the Sun
- Yellow Belly
- The Earth Will Shake