By: Katie Karpowicz
Saturday marked a solemn day for Chicago fans of the long-running rock group Thrice. The band’s farewell tour made its stop at the Metro for what was the band’s last performance here for what I can only assume to be quite some time. Thrice announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year and even though band members have since confirmed that Thrice will tour again sometime in the future, “sometime” isn’t always the most reassuring time frame. Thrice taught us that just because a song has a crushingly heavy guitar rhythm, that doesn’t mean it can’t be paired with rich, melody-conscious vocals. They taught us that songs can be chaotic and while still reﬂecting truly artful composition. And, most importantly, this band taught us that when you grow bored with what you’re doing, do something different.
I refrained from describing Thrice as a hardcore band in my opening paragraph. That’s just what the they began as back in 1998. Most of the time describing a music act as a “rock band” might seem shallow. But that is the only term that seems fair given the evolution that fans of this southern California four-piece have watched over the last ﬁfteen years. Beginning with 2005′s Vhessiu Thice began to step away from their roots and experiment with the softer side of their sound. The next six years and four albums were a near constant guessing game for listeners, never quite sure of what the band would sound like next.
Never ones to shy away from their most recent product–fan and critic reception be damned–I was most interested in the night’s setlist as it was chosen not by the band, but by fan votes. Now, I admit the “I remember back when…” attitude that I can never seem to shake when it comes to my favorite bands left me hoping for a setlist full of songs no more recent than 2004. But the fans really did surprise me. The set was an almost perfectly balanced retrospective of the bands career. No album was without representation–stretching all the way back to 2000′s Identity Crisis with a live recreation and “T & C” and right up to “Yellow Belly” off 2011′s Major/Minor.
The musicianship of all four members of this band has always been their most redeeming quality. While their peers stuck to palm-muted power chords, Thrice managed to create similar sounding songs that carried an amount of depth and complexity that could easily slip by at first listen. We were reminded of the band’s subtle superiority on Saturday with true rockers like “Killy Me Quickly” and “The Earth Will Shake.”
Watching an artist grow disinterested in the music they’ve created–the music you fell in love with–can be a bit discouraging for any fan, I imagine. Despite the good vibes and natural energy that the show carried as a whole, the band members looked downright bored playing some of their older hits, specifically “Stare at the Sun,” arguably Thrice’s most popular song to date. However, newer songs like the final song and second encore performance of the night “Anthology” drew real engagement from band members and fans alike. Truthfully, this hiatus almost seemed overdue. After a decade and a half, you can’t be upset with a group of musicians for growing in different directions. For a collection of songwriters as talented as Thrice, it makes sense that they’d grow tired of playing the same songs year after year. It’s only natural that they’d develop stronger affinities for more recent songs and the songs that they have yet to write.
So, am I sad Thrice has decided to part ways for the indefinite future? Absolutely. But, like any true fan should, I can only be happy for the band members and look forward to what post-Thrice musical endeavors will arise. And, hey, they played “Deadbolt.” Seeing as I haven’t seen that song live since 2006, I left smiling.
Thrice – Promises
Thrice – In Exile