Recher Theatre, Towson, Maryland
June 26, 2010
When I last saw Thrice in 2002, they were touring for The Illusion of Safety, a young band with promise that was, at that point, unfulfilled. They played with heart and daring, but not all of their ideas worked. Over the course of the next eight years, perhaps no band has grown so much as Thrice though. The band I saw in 2010 had the best of the band circa 2002, but had so much more dimension to their music that they exceeded even their most lofty musical goals. Despite a minute or so of technical issues with Dustin’s guitar, during which the rest of the band kicked into a little Dave Brubeck, the performance was seamless without being sterile. The set just exploded out from the stage, mixing Thrice’s churning hardcore with their airy atmospherics and finding that difficult line between studio restraint and live spontaneity. They mellowed a bit through the middle before mounting a last aural attack. Thrice was a fine young band back in 2002, but since then, they’ve matured into a flat-out amazing one.
The three openers weren’t half-bad either. The Dig mixed the manic with the ethereal and wrapped that around vocal melodies worthy of early 60s AM pop. Hipster duo Bad Veins, despite the somewhat contrived stage antiques, old-phone-as-microphone and Natty Boh reference, played a solid set of live drums, guitar, keyboard and vocals over recorded loops. Kevin Devine and company played a set of gritty, but tight punk that was was infused with Devine’s surprisingly strong vocals and overall down-too-earth, human approach. His performance had such intensity that it stuck with me vividly even after Thrice’s performance. All in all, a very good night of music.