On May 22nd, Lancaster’s Chameleon Club welcomed long-running band Thrice for a stop in the midst of their farewell tour. This is signaling an indefinite hiatus for the band, so it might not be goodbye forever, but for the forseeable future, this tour is the last chance to experience them live.
Instead of the band having complete control of the setlist, they put it to the fans to vote online what songs should be played for this last go-round. The top two or three songs from each album were represented in the set which virtually guaranteed that the audience would witness the most popular songs for this momentous occasion.
“Yellow Belly,” lead track off of their final release Major / Minor started things off on a high note and selections off of popular early releases The Illusion of Safety and Artist in the Ambulance wasted no time in engaging the long-time fans right off the bat. Even tracks from the much-loved yet also much-maligned Vheissu were universally accepted.
The fans who voted online were clearly in favor of uptempo songs because there very few quiet moments throughout the set. A traditional tour would surely have mixed in a few deeper cuts that may have lost a few people, but even relatively casual fans would recognize most of what was played.
With this insistence on paying nearly equal attention to all of their albums, there are always some songs that were overlooked. The show itself was about an hour and forty minutes, so that can only accommodate so much material. Still, every era of the band was represented, so it was about as complete an overview as the 10 PM curfew which was imposed on the band/venue would allow.
The only possible knock would be that a few technical difficulties hurt the pacing throughout the show. Equipment failure created a few moments where singer/guitarist Dustin Kensrue was forced to buy some time for the crew as they scrambled to fix the problems. This was easy to overlook though because once the next song kicked in, all was forgotten.
Title track “Beggars” ended the main set on an unusually somber note. With little time to spare, they exited the stage afterward and returned to it faster than usual for an encore. The crowd alternated between chanting the usual “One more song!” and the more ambitious “Ten more songs!” until Thrice reappeared and obliged with three more songs. “Come All Your Weary” was a gentle way to return to the stage, “Phoenix” was a nod toward their Identity Crisis days and “Anthology” wrapped things up. This willingness to bookend their set with material from their newest album seems to indicate their satisfaction with it.
First opening band O’Brother are no strangers to touring with Thrice, though this reviewer missed most of the set due to entering the venue late to a packed house. If you weren’t in line right away, good luck getting a view of the stage, even on the second and third levels. Luckily, a willingness to burrow through the crowd eventually rewarded this concert-goer with an unobstructed view of the stage.
Instrumental metal band (or instruMETAL band) Animals As Leaders were the next supporting act and their brand of intricate, yet ambient, technical metal was appreciated by the crowd. Frontman Tosin Abasi and company are onto something worthwhile there though they are clearly in the process of growing.
Perhaps there will be a time for when Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge will reconvene to return as Thrice. Even if not, they have left behind a strong discography over the course of their decade-plus career, leaving off with two especially strong albums Beggars and Major / Minor.
Unlike high school, some reunions are worth looking forward to.
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When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!