LIVE: Thrice @ London, Koko

By Louis Kerry

If there’s one band who has evolved more elegantly than any other, it’s Thrice. After a few years on hiatus starting in 2012, there was doubt that the Californian four-piece would ever return, and if they did, would they just become another nostalgia act? Luckily that wasn’t the case as they released one of the biggest rock albums of 2016 in ‘To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere’ where their post-hardcore approach matured and blossomed into a much more anthemic and structured beast of a record. Almost a year on since its release, Thrice arrive in London to show a sold out Koko how much they’ve grown even since then.

It wouldn’t be a sin to think that Thrice would go down the same route that so many similar bands do and focus the majority of the set on on new songs, but to the utter joy of the crowd, Thrice put on a full career-spanning setlist that would make even their biggest cynic hold their hands up and say ‘fair play lads’. Opening on ‘Hurricane’ and then straight into the classic ‘Artist in the Ambulance’, it’s clear that Thrice intend to celebrate and merge the new with the old, and not just stick to one era. Whether it’s blistering tracks from Major/Minor like ‘Yellow Belly’ or old favourites from Vheissu like ‘Red Sky’, there’s tons of moments for fans to relive their youth.

It’s clear the band has collectively learned so much while on hiatus and in their last year on the road. Having grown out of just being a tech savy post-hardcore band, they sound a lot more structured and have invested so much more in the melodic aspects of their songs that results in creating a sound so compelling it fills out the venue with ease. ‘Deadbolt’ for example is a naturally abrasive track where lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi lets rip one of the most under appreciated riffs around.

Tonight it sounds unimaginably monstrous, resulting in the biggest pit of the night, whilst ‘Stare at The Sun’ turns a mass singalong to the point that frontman Dustin Kensrue doesn’t even need to perform the chorus himself as he takes in the atmosphere for just a moment. The strength and beauty of Kensrue’s vocals are a also a notable highlight. Whether it’s on the haunting ‘Beggars’ or the triumphant show closer in ‘The Long Defeat’, the singer’s vocals range from fragile elegance to room shaking power in a way that he’s never been able to accomplish before.

Their stage presence isn’t extravagant, but it never has been. Thrice’s endearing combination of melody, sheer aggression and an unparalleled collection of songs is all that’s needed to create a magical night. Please don’t leave us again, boys.

Louis Kerry