Houston Faithful Have Hardly Forgotten Thrice

House of Blues
June 8, 2016

Thrice has been missed.

The California quartet returned to Houston Wednesday evening for the first time in five years, on tour in support of its new record To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere.

Its name may be a mouthful, but Thrice’s ninth studio album saw the band return to its heavier roots, much to the delight of many seasoned fans. And this go-round, the lyrics were poignantly political, befitting an album released during an election year.

Beginning their set with "Hurricane," the first track off To Be Everywhere, Thrice had fans spellbound from the onset of Wednesday night’s show. The crowd all but fell silent as the band began to strum its guitars, and the only noises emanating from the crowd were song lyrics, chanted in unison.

Even a bit of technical difficulty couldn't subdue the tightly packed crowd or the band itself. Just two songs into the set, vocalist Dustin Kensrue told fans that the band was experiencing some kind of technical difficulty, and he was left alone onstage as the rest of the ensemble retired behind the curtains.

But instead of just waiting it out, Kensrue kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu solo performance of “Stare at the Sun.” His raspy vocals received support from the choir of fans who sang along in adoration, perhaps directing the lyrics toward music gods as technicians worked to fix whatever was wrong.

“I’m due for a miracle,” he sang. “I’m waiting for a sign.”

The crowd’s prayers were answered near the end of the second verse, and the rest of the band re-emerged from the shadows and returned to their instruments to regale the crowd with another 90 minutes of music.

Conceivably making up for time lost over the past half-decade, Thrice’s set list encompassed old and new tunes alike, including a few deep cuts, providing newer fans with politically driven narratives like “Black Honey” and “Death From Above” while veteran fans were appeased later in the show with the likes of “The Artist in the Ambulance” and “In Years to Come.”

In 2011, drummer Riley Breckenridge told me Thrice didn’t care how its fans looked or dressed and was only concerned with making good music and inspiring fans. Five years later, its concerts remain a testament to that fact. Young, old; bearded, clean-shaven; male, female; we are all music lovers, and we all showed up Wednesday night with a few songs in mind, hoping to hear them live, perhaps for the first time.

And judging by the crowd’s reception, Thrice is still a vision. I only hope we don’t have to wait another five years for them to visit.

Personal Bias: I saw these guys for the first time five years ago, just before their hiatus. The show was a good one, and I decided to revisit it. In fact, I was so excited about it that I mentioned it in our list of most-anticipated summer shows…only to be roasted by friends online and via text. I had no idea Thrice was such an acrimonious group in some circles. But hey, I like ’em just fine.

Stare at the Sun
Of Dust & Nations
All the World is Mad
Black Honey
Stay With Me
The Long Defeat
Wood & Wire
The Sky is Falling
Treading Paper
Cold Cash & Colder Hearts
Hold Fast Hope
Blood on the Sand
Death From Above
For Miles
The Artist in the Ambulance
In Years to Come
The Earth Will Shake
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever