Live Review: Thrice at The Wiltern

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One of the best feelings in the world, at least to me, is seeing a band live that you haven’t seen in a long time and they absolutely kill. Last night at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, Thrice wrapped up their tour and they without a doubt surpassed any expectations I had and got rid of any lingering thoughts I had about the band. Touring in support of their new (and 10th) album Palms, Thrice ripped through their 100 minute set with a real sense of vigor and power that I haven’t seen from them since I saw them on The Artist and The Ambulance cycle.

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Before I get into how commanding and in the zone Thrice was, I’d like to talk about the direct support, The Bronx. For many years I was a huge fan of the band but, over the last few years I had slowly given up on them. They really lost me with all the Mariachi El Bronx stuff they did and their “punk rock” side became a bit watered down (that’s just my opinion). This night though, my mind was changed a bit. The Bronx went off last night and it reminded me of what drew me into them in the first place. Singer Matt Caughthran was a man on a mission last night. His presence alone was captivating. Their set was chock full of old gems and new songs. Certain songs like “Knifeman,” “Heart Attack American,” and “History’s Stranglers” killed. Their set this evening gave me a renewed sense of enjoying the band. Matt even got in the crowd for a few songs to get the crowd pumped and into it.  The one kicker I still have is the rest of the band besides Matt, seem very stagnate. Matt can’t be the only one that gets really into it. All in all though, The Bronx seemed to be finding their “punk rock” side again. I hope that energy carries over to their next record.
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Now the main event. Thrice took the stage a little after 9:00pm and for the next hour and forty minutes, they absolutely owned The Wiltern. Starting their set with “Only Us” was perfect and set the tone for what was to come. As their set raged on with songs like “The Artist in The Ambulance,” “Hurricane,” “Red Sky,” “Black Honey,” and “Anthology,” you could feel the bands energy radiate through the crowd. The roars of sing alongs at times almost was louder than Dustin on stage. Songs from their new album like “The Grey,” “The Dark,” “A Branch In The River,” “Hold Up A Light” and “Beyond The Pines” sounded superb and better live than they do on the record. A few other highlights of their set were  “Firebreather,” “Beggars,” “In Exile,” and “Paper Tigers,” the latter of which really go the crowd in a frenzy. Before playing the song, Dustin Kensrue told the crowd to be careful with this one. Their encore, though only a couple songs, went way back to The Illusion of Safety as they blasted through old classics “Deadbolt,” and To Awake and Avenge The Dead.” I have to give praise to each memeber of the band. Riley Breckinridge looked and sounded so damn comfortable playing his drums. It seemed like it was second nature. Bassist Ed Breckinridge was right in the pocket and totally in the zone as he thrashed around getting more and more into the set as the night went on. Teppei Teranishi has always had this calm demeanor when on stage but, this evening, even he was letting loose a bit more and leaving it all out there. And finally Dustin Kensrue, who also celebrated his birthday this evening, was unstoppable. Even with a raspy voice, which you would have had no idea until he mentioned it, was on fire. His command of the stage and crowd was astounding. I haven’t seen all four of them this good in a long time. I will even go as far as saying that this might just be the best show I’ve ever seen them do.

The four guys that make up Thrice each play a distinct role in not just creating the sound and if it were anyone else playing with them, it sure wouldn’t sound right. Every song picked for their set was perfect and impressionable. They managed to cover all their basis of picking gems from each of their albums. As a fan of the band dating back to The Illusion of Safety, it’s been really interesting to listen and watch the bands growth. They’ve always been true to themselves and what they want to create. Sure they lost me for a bit but, since they returned with To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, I’ve been back and it’s been amazing to be a fan of the band again. I can’t wait to see where the go next and their next tour.

Thrice Set List:
01) Only Us
02) Image Of The Invincible
03) The Artist in the Ambulance
04) Hurricane
05) A Branch In The River
06) Red Sky
07) Black Honey
08) Daedalus
09) The Grey
10) Anthology
11) Firebreather
12) The Dark
13) In Exile
14) Beggars
15) Hold Up A Light
16) Stare At The Sun
17) Paper Tigers
18) The Long Defeat
19) Beyond The Pines
Encore:
20) Deadbolt
21) To Awake and Avenge The Dead

Photos By: Alisa Lacy

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