Summer Ends Music Festival (Tempe, AZ)
Unless you were lucky enough to fly somewhere like Riot Fest to see Thrice perform on their reunion festival circuit, the six-ish hour drive to Phoenix (Tempe, technically) was the first chance for the most dedicated of their hometown fans to see the quartet since their 2012 breakup.
Irvine's favorite post-hardcore sons didn't disappoint, playing a far more energetic and inspired set than seen in many of their shows in the year or two leading up to their hiatus.
By the time the band began their second track ("Silhouette" off of 2003's The Artist in the Ambulance), multiple mosh pits began to break out within the primarily-male crowd. Seeing as it was the first full set since the sun went down on the 105-degree day, diehard and casual fans alike had plenty to be excited about.
From there, Dustin Kensrue, Teppei Teranishi, and Riley and Eddie Breckenridge kept the crowd moving with the title track of their beloved 2003 record and "Firebreather" from 2007's The Alchemy Index. It was at that moment I knew I was at a Thrice show, because for the first time in over three years, I heard a few drunk dudes scream "Deadbolt!" a mere four songs into the set.
Following a heartfelt performance of "Promises" in which Kensrue proved he can still scream and croon with the best of them, the crowd broke into a "Thrice is back" chant. Rather than stick with newer material, Thrice decided to give back to their Phoenix fan base by performing a stretch that featured fan favorites off The Artist in the Ambulance such as "All That's Left," "Under a Killing Moon," and "Stare at the Sun."
A quick equipment change briefly paused the performance before the next song, but by the time Thrice got a few bars into "Deadbolt," the various mosh pits were already in full swing. Unfortunately, after the heat and energy of the previous few hours, most of the audience was too exhausted to really go at it for more than the first verse of the classic track from The Illusion of Safety.
With much of the crowd moshed-out halfway through "Deadbolt," Thrice continued with a few of their mellower tunes before closing the set out with the anthemic "The Earth Will Shake."
Overall, the band sounded as good as ever, and certainly seemed excited to be playing with each other again. Kensrue and Teranishi continue as as good of a singer-guitarist combination as you'll find in current alternative music, and the Breckenridge brothers could certainly provide a solid rhythm section for any band.
Just over an hour after Thrice's set, Brand New headlined the evening, much to the delight of emo kids and frat boys alike.
Next up for Thrice, OC fans will be able to cut five hours off their drive by seeing the band at Taste of Chaos on Saturday.