Following an excellent performance at the sweltering hot Irving Plaza in New York City the night before, Thrice traveled south to New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom to play in a much cooler and enjoyable venue. Unfortunately, the room was barely half-full. Thrice and Kevin Devine are two of the strongest performers to roll through Sayreville this year, and it’s a shame that more people did not make it out to one of the best tours of 2010. The bands’ performances were very similar to the previous night’s Irving Plaza show, so please read that review for a much more in-depth look at this tour.
After performances by The Dig and Bad Veins, Kevin Devine and Goddamn Band began their nine-song setlist with “Brother’s Blood”. Along with “Carnival” and “Another Bag of Bones”, the Goddamn Band extended the songs to include extraneous jams and solos. The older “Cotton Crush” went fairly straightforward, as did Devine’s current single “I Could Be With Anyone”. The four-piece’s highlight came in the final song with a truly incredible cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down”.
Another Bag of Bones
I Could Be With Anyone
Buried By the Buzz
She Stayed as Steam
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (LCD Soundsystem cover)
Thrice kicked things off with “All the World is Mad” and “The Weight — the first two songs from Beggars — before shifting gears and tearing through the title track from their 2003 Island Records debut, The Artist in the Ambulance. Two Vheissu cuts followed: the spiraling “Of Dust and Nations” and the pulsating “The Earth Will Shake”. The Alchemy Index‘s “Firebreather” sounded great — drummer Riley Breckenridge nailed the song’s strange time signatures.
The crowd responded well, but many fans clearly came to hear only the band’s older, metal-influenced material. Frontman Dustin Kensrue interrupted cries for “Deadbolt”, from 2002′s The Illusion of Safety (paraphrased): “Ah, the “Deadbolt” issue. We can talk about it if you want — “Deadbolt” was tired; it’s taking a nap. If you’re patient we’ll play one later from that album that has similar metal qualities.” Kensrue’s speech quieted the crowd, and, for the first time at a Thrice concert in recent memory, no one screamed for the song for the rest of the evening.
A series of slower songs followed, including a solid rendition of the piano-led “For Miles”, which was absent the night before. “Silhouette” promptly returned the band to their heavier roots, with bassist Eddie Breckenridge’s guttural screams (“Your eyes!”) accenting the song’s already-pummeling breakdowns. Two heavy, fire-themed songs from The Alchemy Index followed (“Burn the Fleet”, “The Messenger”) before Thrice returned to their relatively softer side with the newer “Doublespeak” and “In Exile”.
“Image of the Invisible” briefly featured spastic vocals from Kevin Devine before Kensrue thanked the crowd “for their patience”, making good on the earlier promise to play a cut from The Illusion of Safety. Thrice tore into “To Awake and Avenge the Dead”, sending the audience absolutely wild. The encore drained that energy, though, with “Stand and Feel Your Worth” just a few moments later — the track just does not work as the first song in an encore. Fortunately, Thrice concluded with a wonderful performance of “Beggars”, the title track from the band’s latest full-length.
All the World is Mad
The Artist in the Ambulance
Of Dust and Nations
The Earth Will Shake
A Song for Milly Michaelson
Burn the Fleet
Image of the Invisible
To Awake and Avenge the Dead
Stand and Feel Your Worth
Thrice performed a similar setlist in New York City (dropping “Hold Fast Hope” and “Come All You Weary” and replacing those cuts with “Burn the Fleet” and “For Miles”) and sounded fantastic in back-to-back nights. The band’s eighteen-song performance touched on the band’s last nine years as a band, appeasing fans of both the band’s heaviest moments as well as their softest. Few bands carry out setlist dynamics as well as Thrice; the quartet is nearly unparalleled in their live performance.