Aside from a storming return to our soil last year at Hevy Fest, it’s been four long years since Thrice  took to a UK stage for a headline show. This Reading & Leeds warm-up was originally set to take place at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, but demand outstripped the Ballroom’s confines and the gig got upgraded to the O2 Forum Kentish Town. Funny, because that’s the very last stage they graced here almost half a decade ago.
It may be close to five years since that last encounter, but that hasn’t diminished the UK’s love for the Californian quartet one iota. Couple this with the release of this year’s remarkable comeback ‘To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’ and the desire for live Thrice is at fever pitch once again. The Forum is beyond sweltering by the time the returning heroes take to the stage, but for those in attendance this matters not.
A barrage of cheers meets Riley, Eddie, Teppei, and Dustin and they waste no time getting us acquainted with their new material, smashing head-first into ‘Hurricane’. Combining the heaviness of their older releases with the mature melodies they discovered on both ‘Beggars’ and ‘Major/Minor’, the ‘TBEITBN’ songs stand tall live, the likes of ‘Black Honey’, ‘Blood On The Sand’ and thunderous standout ‘Death From Above’ receiving rapturous responses from the crowd. Frontman Dustin Kensrue barely talks to the crowd throughout the evening, explaining he’s not great with ‘banter’, though with such personal lyrics, the songs speak to those in attendance louder than most bands could ever conceive.
As a band, Thrice have always been forward-thinking and wise beyond their years, but now they’ve managed to take the ferocity and youth of their older output and infuse it with a new power and intensity that only comes with age. ‘Silhouette’ is crushing and urgent, ‘Cold Cash And Colder Hearts’ keeps its pace yet sounds angrier than ever before, ‘Hold Fast Hope’ is a whirlwind masterclass in heaviness matching harmony, and ‘Backdraft’‘s off-kilter rhythm keeps the crowd hanging onto every note with utmost devotion.
All that said, let’s not forget that Thrice‘s tender moments can captivate just as well as their incensed ones, particularly here on ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Daedalus’. The sheer heat of the venue makes it difficult to concentrate on the intricacies on offer, but ultimately they’re no less poignant. A punishing one-two of ‘Yellow Belly’ and ‘For Miles’ solidifies the thought that the quartet are still a sheer force of nature live, before fan-favourite ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ and a surprising but wholly welcome ‘In Years To Come’ from ‘The Illusion Of Safety’ lead up to the final moments of the evening.
It could be the heat, it could be the emotions drawn out from the 19 previous tracks, but the intensity of ‘The Earth Will Shake’ will never fail to completely level a venue as a set closer. The audience give it every last drop until the song’s final head-spinning crescendo gives way to silence, and after a lengthy ovation, they spill out into the night air sweaty, but thrilled at what they just witnessed.
Written by Callum Galbraith (@cgalbraith)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.