Thrice, O’Brother at Kool Haus

I’ve been negligent lately about keeping up with regular posts. My full-time job (he one that pays the bills) and my fun job at Trent Radio with The Antidote (the job that pays $0) seem to take up all of my time.  Hence the reason for this very late post about the Thrice and O’Brother concert that took place at the Kool Haus in Toronto, ON on May 30th. Animals as Leaders was also slated to play, but for some unexplained reason they were a no-show.

I had been hoping that my interview request for Dustin Kensrue of Thrice would have been granted, but it was not to be. As Christians we can’t bear grudges, so I was off to see Thrice and O’Brother play anyway. I did have some apprehensions as to how it would go.  I last saw Thrice perform back in 2007 when they performed with mewithoutYou and Brand New at Arrow Hall. I must admit that I wasn’t all that impressed by that show, too laid back for my taste. Perhaps it was simply a bad night for the band.

O’Brother started up the night with a longer than normal set.  They were compensating for Animals as Leaders not being able to perform. I’ve always liked O’Brother. I first heard the band when I picked up a copy of their Death of Day EP back in 2009. They have an unusual style that is so definitely their own. Indie rock, at times post-hardcore, with a typically breathy and on rare occasion snarling, vocal delivery by Tanner Merrit. O’Brother released their first full-length back in November 2011, so I was curious to see what they would bring to the stage. More of what the EP had delivered, plus much more. O’Brother has progressed and broadened their range with the anew album, Garden Window and that has translated on to the stage. It was interesting to see Anton Dang adopting the use of a bow to play his bass, creating a rich tone. Overall, quite a dynamic performance.

Here’s a partial O’Brother set list:

  • Lo
  • Sputnik
  • Machines Part I
  • Machines Part II
  • Poison!
  • Lay Down

The Farewell Tour with Thrice had no comparison to their ’07 show. A huge, one hour and 40 minute set covered almost everything that even a dedicated fan base could have demanded from Thrice. There was a capacity crowd on hand to say goodbye to this influential and astonishingly talented band.

My apprehensions were banished the moment Thrice come on stage. Confident, able, active, and talented beyond all means. All the negatives I had seen in ’07 were replaced by this incredible ability to the hold the crowd hostage to the music. The crowd roared their approval after each and every track.

Dustin Kensrue has always been a brilliant lyricist and vocalist. Those combined abilities are often lacking in their contemporaries. Kensrue carries his faith equally to Christians and non-Christians alike.  Where so many Christian bands are shunned by mainstream audiences, Kensrue’s song-writing talents and performances have held fans close to Thrice since the band’s inception back in 1998. Thrice has also maintained the same band members over their entire career, which is a very rare thing in the music industry.

While the focus of the fans is typically on Kensrue, Teppei Teranishi is simply amazing on both guitar and back up vocals.  As I was standing only a few feet from Teppei, I was astounded at the amount of energy he can project from the stage.

I must admit that I was a bit of a late-comer to Thrice, not picking up any of their music until the release of The Alchemy Index in 2007 and 2008. Since then I’ve gone on to collect ’05’s Vheissu, Beggars from 2009, and their current (and perhaps last) release Major/Minor.

Thrice will be sorely missed by their dedicated fan base and those bands who have been influenced by Thrice over the years. Who will step up to the plate to take their place?  Only the future will tell.

Check out the huge set list for Thrice:

  • Yellow Belly
  • Image of the Invisible
  • The Artist in the Ambulance
  • Kill Me Quickly
  • Under a Killing Moon
  • Silhouette
  • In Exile
  • Promises
  • Daedalus
  • Words in the Water
  • Of Dust and Nations
  • Broken Lungs
  • The Weight
  • Helter Skelter (The Beatles cover)
  • The Earth Will Shake
  • The Messenger
  • Stare at the Sun
  • Deadbolt
  • To Awake and Avenge the Dead
  • Beggars

Encore:

  • Phoenix Ignition
  • T & C

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