Here we are again! Another Entertainment filled year of FridaeTV coverage ends and a new year of fun journeys begins! The year of 2012 had many incredible live moments and just as many failed attempts by bands new and old. Below is the list of the top ten best live artists I have had the pleasure of covering this year, they all have that something special that transcends on stage. You can find the reviews in the archives as well as videos on Fridae TV Youtube and photos not in the galleries on Fridae TV Facebook. I am very excited as to what the new year will bring! Wishing everyone an amazing 2013, thank you for all the love and support!
Last Wednesday May 30th 2012, American rock band Thrice made a stop at Toronto’s Kool Haus for their Farewell tour, the show was originally scheduled for the Phoenix but was moved to the Kool Haus. This was not Thrice’s first show in Toronto nor is it Fridae TV’s first time covering a set. However, it is my first time seeing them live and the last time they will be performing as a band in Toronto. We shall see how long this hiatus lasts, it is not uncommon for bands to part ways and reunite years later. As for front man Dustin Kensrue he will continue pursuing his solo endeavors and I’m sure Teppei Teranishi – Keys/Lead Guitar, Eddie Breckenridge – Bass and Riley Breckenridge on the Drums also have side projects they are working on.
The opening bands were to be O’ Brother and Animals As Leaders but due to a scheduling conflict with a band member’s court date in Boston, Animals As Leaders could not make the Toronto show. I missed O’ Brother but I do hope they come back in the near future! Everyone I ran into was ranting and raving about how amazing they were, I’m sad I missed the set! Did not think I would make it on time even for Thrice, a couple hours earlier I landed in Toronto from New York where I flew that morning and was supposed to be off to Vegas that afternoon. Once I found out I was to cover Thrice’s final show in Toronto I switched my Vegas ticket for the next flight back home. Everyone asked me why I didn’t skip the show or send a team member to cover it? Very simple my friends, the show is part of the Farewell Tour and I have never seen them live! There is no guarantee the band will ever regroup to tour again, so I had to cover the set myself no matter what! Vegas, will always be there.
Thrice have been on the music scene since 1998 and have garnered a loyal fan following that is continually growing. Personally not a huge fan of Thrice but I do appreciate their music and artistry, tracks like “Image of The Invisible”, “Silhouette” and “Deadbolt” are just a few of the tunes I blast every now and then. All of the above songs mentioned were played in the twenty three track set chosen by the fans, the opening track was “Yellow Belly” from their latest album released last year and they ended off the set with the encore tune “Anthology” from the same record “Major/Minor”. In between those tracks they played material from earlier works and a cover, their version of The Beatles song “Helter Skelter” which I absolutely loved! Their blend of melodic post hardcore rock is what draws you in and Kensrue’s vocals are what keep your attention. Major thank you to Live Nation for the ear candy, Thrice sounds so much better live than on any of the records I have heard, hard work pays off. I am extremely happy for the fans because they are recording tracks from the sets to create a live album of this tour.
Almost every male I have ever met that likes rock music is a fan of Thrice and of course I ran into many of those Larries at the show. As always at rock shows there were more males than females, ranging from teens to mid fifties along with many couples and large groups. Near the end of the set it looked like a few guys were going to cry once Kensrue announced the final song, the crowd then booed because they did not want the show to end. I can see why the boys are obsessed with this band, Kensrue can really sing and I mean he can really fucking sing! His vocals have turned a full three sixty from when the band first emerged, hands down the best male rock vocals I have heard all year! Performance wise he could be a little more enthused but after thirteen years of playing the same songs I guess he’s lost some of the magic he once had for them as a performer. Kensrue played his axe well, his emotions were apparent in certain tunes and for others he looked completely blank. It was when he really got into a song, feeling it to the core he shined, vocally sounding phenomenal.
Bassist Eddie Breckenridge was amusing to watch as he played that Bass as if it were an Electric Guitar, providing the most visual entertainment for the crowd other than the surfers that evening. His brother Riley was equally as fantastic with those sticks, one of the hardest to shoot because his hands were moving so fast. Guitarist Teppei Teranishi sounded incredible on the axe and when he migrated away from the mic and keys for a minute you could kind of see his personality coming through when he let go and rocked out. I was expecting more from him and the band as a whole, they did not use the stage to their advantage, staying in their own corners majority of the set like a boxing match coming off a little awkward at times. The only one who spoke to the crowd was Vox – Dustin Kensrue, he was continually thanking everyone for their support throughout the years as he introduced some of the songs.
For all the Thrice fans at the packed Kool Haus on May 30th this was a memorable show but definitley a bittersweet feeling for most, it was the last time they would see their favorite band perform live. For a set without any major bells and whistles it was very well done, a performance I won’t soon forget! Thrice still has a few more dates in the US before they end the tour in their home state of California on June 19th 2012, I would go see them again if I could! Check out Thrice’s website to see if they’re coming to a city near you, this is your last chance!
After having a night to digest what I had experienced I have come to a conclusion, Thrice is and will always continue to be a force in music that so many bands can’t seem to sustain. Upon walking into the Phoenix Concert Theater one couldn’t help but notice how early it was filling up, the crowd was eagerly anticipating Thrice’s presence. With Moving Mountains and LA Dispute opening up, neither band really had the audience going. Moving Mountains seemed to have a better connection with the crowd between the two acts, their hooks and post rock assault had an early Thrice feel which seemed to rev up the crowd. When LA Dispute took the stage, the mumbling and incoherence of Jordan Dreyer’s vocals really took away from a set that seemed to be on eleven right out of the gate.
Thirteen years since Thrice formed in Irving, California, the quartet has matured just fine, all 4 members are contributing songwriters for the past few albums and their sound is becoming an eclectic mix of style and feel that translates beautifully into a live performance. Dustin Kensrue’s vocals have that immense concise way of conveying the album sound precisely; capturing the essence and mood each song deserves and not to mention he knows how to keep an audience holding onto his every word.
Kicking off the set with “Yellow Belly” and dishing out songs for over an hour and half the sold out crowd was singing and shouting along for the whole duration of the set. The sing-a-longs were spot on; almost “anthemic”, I’m sure there were goosebumps running rampant in the Phoenix on this night. While delving into songs from most of their LP’s, they also managed to make note of the “Invisible Children” campaign which is a movement seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers. Every night after each show, Thrice tweets a secret show location and an acoustic set is done in a nearby park from each venue and it’s all in effort to bring attention and much needed awareness to such a noble cause, good on you boys!
The vibe in the room was electric the whole night and I couldn’t help but watch the people around me more than the band sometimes. The people’s energy was bouncing off the walls and it’s something you don’t see at shows that often nowadays. “Fire Breather” off “The Alchemy Index” seemed to have garnered the best response for the night, with Teppei Teranishi’s flawless Guitar work it was a guaranteed crowd favorite. Teranishi also utilized his Piano skills, filling out a sound that just needed that little push mostly because of the power house Breckenridge brother rhythm combo of Eddie (Bass) and Riley (Drums). The duo kept the heads boppin’ and the band in check, minus a small drum roll that was flapped there were no qualms with anything about their performance.
Finishing the set off with “Anthology” (Major/Minor LP), Thrice came back on for the encore and busted into older tunes that sent the fans into a frenzy, capping the night off with “Phoenix Ignition” and “To Awake and Avenge the Dead” from their earlier days. This sent the crowd on a brisk autumn evening feeling warm and satisfied after relishing in a band that seems to get better with age and it doesn’t seem as though they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. If you have the opportunity to see Thrice for yourself go and buy some tickets you rock fans! Many thanks go out to the always courteous folks over at Live Nation!