Thrice House of Blues October 5, 2011
You don't have to dress or act a certain way to like Thrice. In fact, in case you didn't already know, you don't have to dress or act a certain way to like any kind of music. But don't take our word for it.
"I think that's something that happens with youth a lot, with the music they listen to," drummer Riley Breckenridge said before the show. They're like, 'Well, I can only do this, I can only listen to these types of bands, I have to dress this way, and I have to hang out with these people.' And it doesn't need to be like that."
Wednesday night, the all-encompassing Thrice did not disappoint its fans, who packed the House of Blues floor. On tour in support of their eighth studio album, Major/Minor, the California-based four-piece had the crowd chanting, screaming and singing along for over an hour with a scattered repertoire consisting of both old and new material.
Major/Minor, which was produced Dave Schiffman, who engineered 2005's Vheissu and mixed 2009's Beggars, has received rave reviews. And judging from what Aftermath heard last night (as well as what we've heard online), the album is a must-have for Thrice fans, and it's also satisfying enough for any music lover to enjoy.
"In the early days, when our music was more rooted in punk rock, metal and hardcore, movement in the crowd was a gauge of how successful the show was," Breckenridge said. "And now, with some different styles of music in what we're doing, it's those sing-along moments... Looking out and seeing people really engaged in what's going on, that's the coolest thing for me."
Prior to Thrice taking the stage, Aftermath sat down with Breckenridge, who shed some light on the band, its writing process and how, in spite of their creative process taking longer than that of most other acts, he wouldn't rather be a drummer in any other band.
"All of us have the ability to write on multiple instruments, and all of us have very distinct tastes in music," Breckenridge said. "The thing that has made us us over the years has been all four individuals writing ideas for music, coming together as a collective and kind of using that collective as a filter to shape these ideas into songs.
"It's not the most efficient process," he added with a laugh. "It would be way easier to have a chief songwriter, who just wrote the songs and said, 'You play this, and you play this'... And it takes us a long time to get on the same page with what we're writing but, especially for me, as a drummer, the fact that I've been able to contribute musically has been really rewarding and awesome."
In our research before the show, Aftermath learned that vocalist and lyricist Dustin Kensrue is quite the heavy-heavy-duty reader and thinker. In fact, he's quoted saying, "I try to be an artist who aspires to find hope even in dark places: If I'm down, I don't want to bring people down to that place with me. I'm looking for a way out."
That sentiment, regardless of a few differences in musical taste, is shared by the rest of the band as well.
"Like Justin said in that quote, searching for hope and letting people know that that can come from a lot of different places (is Thrice's message)," Breckenridge said. "Whether it's your faith, your family, your friends or your community, there are a lot of reasons to have hope, and we're definitely going to need it, because things are getting difficult."
And Thrice aren't simply telling people to have hope; they're attempting to help people find it in any and all avenues.
"It's hope, and it's a search for truth, a search for answers and kind of a quest for learning as well," Breckenridge continued. "Just trying to be open-minded, I think. The way that the band has changed and evolved over the years has definitely rubbed some people the wrong way, but we are trying to help people be open to new sounds and new styles of music instead of just kind of closing themselves off and keeping themselves as fans of just one genre of music."
Breckenridge went on to tell us that he finds most of his inspiration through other artists, naming Radiohead specifically, because of the way they have been able to reinvent themselves multiple times over again through the years.
"For other influences, it's just scattered," he said. "I got to a point, probably about 10 years ago, when I figured out that the music you listen to shouldn't really be a part of your identity. I think, for a lot of young people, they think, 'Well, if I listen to punk rock, I need to dress a certain way, and I need to hang out with a certain group of people.'
"And I did that for a while and kind of had blinders on to a lot of good music. And there's just so much good music out there. Then I wisened up and built this crazy hunger for new music, and it didn't matter what genre it was or what the rules were for that kind of scene. I just wanted to be someone who loved music, regardless of its genre.
"Just opening up the floodgates to all this music has pushed and pulled me in all different directions, both as a musician and as a person," Breckenridge said. "There's just so much good music out there, and if you close your eyes to it, you'll never find it."
If their new album is any indication, Thrice is on the way to building an even more solid fan base - though, of course, their fan base is already pretty strong - and while it may not appeal to their original audience, plenty of people are finding hope in it.
"Part of what makes us us is the struggle to get all of us on the same page with our individual ideas," he said. "And it's not always the smoothest thing, and it's not always the most civil discussion, but in the end, we always get it to a place where we're all really happy with it."
Personal Bias: Having seen Thrice's live show before, we were excited at the chance to see them again. And we were even more excited after we heard a few tracks of their new album. If you haven't already gotten a copy, we suggest you do so.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Thrice, man. FUCKING THRIIIIIIIIICE!!
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Random Notebook Dump: We ran into thelastplaceyoulook's Nava outside the show and, as we were walking back inside, he was stopped by a man who said, "I don't mean to bother you, but you look like the lead singer of thelastplaceyoulook." To which Nava replied, "Yeah, that's me." The man's eyes widened, he cracked a smile and, at something of a loss for words, stuttered, "Cool..." After a brief cause, he added, "I love you guys!"
A local act getting some attention at a national show even when not performing? Cool, indeed.