During their farewell tour in 2012, Thrice made their last stop in Denver when they headed to Summit Music Hall on June 6; prior to going on an indefinite hiatus (though the band recently played their first show together since that tour). On Tuesday, almost three years later, singer Dustin Kensrue returned to Summit, this time as a solo artist.
With David Ramirez and The Rocketboys in tow, Kensrue would head to Summit’s more intimate confines known as The Moon Room on this occasion. The setting proved perfect for this particular show, as a little over 100 passionate fans sang along, and even engaged in occasional banter with Kensrue.
Those who were expecting a simple rehashing of old Thrice songs likely left largely disappointed by Kensrue’s set; as he offered only a single Thrice track: “A Song for Milly Michaelson.” Instead, fans were treated to a blend of bluesy acoustic ballads, alternative cuts and a little outlaw country.
Backed by The Rocketboys, Kensrue opened his set with “Ruby” off of his newest album entitled Carry the Fire. They would then proceed to run through five additional songs, all taken from either the aforementioned release, or his solo debut Please Come Home. Though the gig marked Kensrue’s first show with The Rocketboys, nobody would have been the wiser had he not mentioned that fact onstage; as they provided a befitting backdrop for his vocals, guitar and harmonica.
After they finished up “Death or Glory,” the band would exit the stage; leaving Kensrue alone with his guitar. He would perform the next eight tunes without assistance, overing a blend of his own music, along with a trio of covers that included the surprising selection of Lorde’s “Buzzcut Season.” At one point, he would even take suggestions from the crowd, agreeing to play “State Trooper” by Bruce Springsteen. He would require some assistance for the second verse, comically stopping the song for in order to get a lyrical prompt from the audience. This portion of the set would come to a close after he offered “It’s Not Enough” from his more gospel-centric solo album The Water & the Blood.
At this point, Kensure would crank things up a bit; with The Rocketboys returning for another five songs, including the more aggressive “Gallows;” during which Kensrue rocked out astoundingly hard on a tambourine. The set would conclude with “Carry the Fire.”Kensrue and company would then exit the stage.
Those hoping for an encore would not have to wait long, as Kensrue would again don his acoustic axe after but a few seconds; commenting on the awkwardness of the moments after the gig was apparently finished, when he could clearly be seen waiting by the side of the stage.
Prior to breaking into his final tune, Kensrue offered up a little more comic relief. He told a story of the first time he introduced his eldest daughter to Tom Waits; after which she commented that he sounded like the “old black man from the Lego Store that had trouble breathing.” The man to which she was referring? None other than Darth Vader. Following the humorous introduction, Kensrue then offered Waits’ “Down There by the Train” before calling it a night.
For man, this show was probably not what they had expected. If one thing does resonate though both Thrice and Kensrue as a solo artist however (other than the picturesque storytelling found in his lyrics), it is his passion for music. Whether it is the metal-core snarl found in “Silhouette,” or a beautiful ballad such as “Pistol,” he puts everything he has into each and every song.
All too often musicians get caught up in the glitz and glamour that comes with finding a shred of success; losing touch with themselves, and their artistic integrity. Though this is something that Kensrue addresses in his song “I Knew You Before,” it is not something he himself has seemed to suffer from. His music is genuine and seems to come straight from the heart; something that carries over to his performances. His show at the Summit Music Hall was no exception.
- Back to Back
- I Knew You Before
- Of Crows and Crowns
- Consider the Ravens*
- A Song for Milly Michaelson (originally by Thrice)*
- There’s Something Dark*
- Blood & Wine*
- State Trooper (originally by Bruce Springsteen)*
- Please Come Home*
- Buzzcut Season (originally by Lorde)*
- It’s Not Enough*
- In the Darkness
- What Beautiful Things
- Blanket of Ghosts
- Carry the Fire
- Encore- Down There by the Train (originally by Tom Waits)*
(* denotes songs performed by Dustin Kensrue sans The Rocketboys)