Thrice, Brutus @ The Electric Ballroom

By Adam Rosario

Chances are your favourite band’s favourite band is Thrice. One of the most revered bands in the alternative scene, and near the top of the list of the most underrated bands in the world, Thrice made a stop in Camden Town on Download Weekend to treat their diehard fans to an unstoppable show.

Opening proceedings are Brutus, a three piece band featuring a singing drummer who sits whilst performing. Hailing from Belgium, they’ve come a long way from being a Refused tribute act. They’ve managed to nail down the morphing of low-fi ambient sounds to monstrous breakdown sections. In Stefanie Mannaerts, they’ve got a true star in the making. Their set is one shrouded in darkness, with barely any crowd interaction, but they leave a last impression on the room.

Thrice fans are immediately noticeable as a diehard set of people – you can see it in the amount of Thrice merchandise around. There are hardly any casual fans in the Ballroom tonight, and that makes for an incredible atmosphere. Kicking off their ninety minute set with ‘Hurricane’ and ending with a massive ‘The Earth Will Shake’, every single word is shouted back at the band like the crowd are at an end of the world party. At times, they even drown out Dustin Kensrue. ‘Hurricane’ fades out into the familiar grunge riff of ‘Silhouette’ and receives another huge roar from the crowd.

After the electric start, Thrice begin to reel off the best songs in their back catalogue, whilst mixing them in with their latest album cuts, and even new single ‘The Grey’. ‘The Grey’ sounds immediate and full of big ambitions on its live debut and looks set to be a mainstay in their set for years to come.

Having now signed with Epitaph, the band play with such vigour that they could be a band in their infancy. The older material has a bigger crunch on it, notably on ‘Silhouette’ and ‘Stare At The Sun’, whilst ‘Blood on the Sand’ and ‘Black Honey’ sound as colossal as they should. The main set closes with the triple hit of ‘Yellow Belly’ into ‘Firebreather’, before ‘The Long Defeat’ brings the 17-song marathon to an end.

Returning a few minutes after everyone’s been able to catch their breath, they launch into an encore with their signature song. ‘The Artist in the Ambulance’ still sounds fresh and innovative in 2018, and considering it’s been around for 15 years, this is quite a feat. It garners one of the loudest of the loud reactions of the night. ‘Deadbolt’ follows before morphing into ‘The Earth Will Shake’ to bring the night to an close.

The Electric Ballroom has seen a number of legendary shows over the years, but few will have played better than Thrice. The question now is what next? Their mammoth 20-song set proves they should be touring Academy-sized venues regularly. If there is any justice in the world, this show will be the last time they’re in the confines of a club venue. They might be the alternative scene’s best kept secret, but they deserve to be one of the heavy hitters in the rock world. Hopefully, their signing with Epitaph will make this a reality.