Live Review: Thrice Explores its Vast and Versatile Catalog at the Hollywood Palladium on ‘Horizons/East’ Tour


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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The Thrice that records and tours in 2021 is not the Thrice that formed in 1998 in Orange County, California. As the years have flown by, the group — guitarist/vocalist Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Ed Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge — has graduated from its early punk/screamo roots into something entirely original and authentic.

That much was made as apparent as ever in September with Horizons/East, the band’s 11th studio album to date. A deep, experimental-leaning record boasting some of the most dynamic songwriting the group has explored in quite some time, it is another wildly unpredictable entry into a catalog full of them.

On Friday, Thrice played the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, one of the final stops of the group’s tour in support of the new record. On the road, Thrice commonly confronts the issue of Who We Are Now vs. Who We Were Then by peppering some “fan favorites” (read: early material) into the set lists, which are usually heavy on new material. This was the case once again at the Palladium, with the night’s set list blending six new songs with a handful from the band’s rich catalog, including two tracks from Vheissu and the title track from The Artist in the Ambulance, one of the group’s earliest successes.

Musically, the band sounded absolutely perfect through the venue’s PA system. Kensrue’s voice, which can sometimes get taxed on the road, was in fine form, and the band’s on-stage chemistry has rarely sounded more in sync.

A slick light show lit up the stage behind them, creating a backdrop of digital fire for “Firebreather” and accompanying Horizons/East material particularly well:

Of course, Thrice shows sometimes run into an issue specific to their history of albums: Fans who are only there for the early, more aggressive stuff and don’t seem to really get as revved-up about the newer material (despite its depth and maturity, which runs opposite to the youthful rage of the earliest records). This came to a head at one point during the Palladium gig when a fan kept shouting song titles at the band, which balked at such unasked-for fan behavior, Kensrue even saying something to the effect of “We asked you before to please quit shouting songs at us,” before going into a slower new song titled “Dandelion Wine.”

Click here to pick up Horizons/East on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Horizons/East on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

Despite the visible frustrations of such moments — which are understandable, honestly, given the creative growth the band has experienced now 23 years removed from its formation — Thrice shook it off, delivering a deeply engaging set of tracks pulling from old and new alike.

The older cuts thrown in, which included the ones mentioned above and “Of Dust and Nations” and “The Earth Will Shake,” harder-edged Vheissu songs that should have satiated those rudely screaming for older material, sat comfortably alongside new songs like “Summer Set Fire to the Rain” and “Scavengers.”

Most Thrice concerts feature this Old vs. New dynamic, and it can make for a distinct experience as far as crowd mood is concerned. To the band’s credit, the live show almost always features a little something to make the “old school” fans happy — but going to a Thrice show in 2021 and expecting an entire set list of songs from 2001, which some fans seem to do, is a recipe for disappointment.

Anyone who does that is missing a chance to fully appreciate Thrice as it is today: One of the strongest live acts around and one that continually challenges itself creatively, a reality that was reiterated at the Palladium.

Also impressive was Touché Amoré, the Los Angeles-based post-hardcore band that opened the show with a high-energy and passionate set of music. At the time of their set, most fans had yet to file inside the venue (or were at the bars), but the band powered through undaunted by the abundant space in the mosh pit with intense songs from 2020’s Lament and 2016’s Stage Four, led by vocalist Jeremy Bolm and his dynamic stage presence.

Thrice’s set list from the Palladium on Oct. 29, 2021:

The Color of the Sky
Scavengers
The Artist in the Ambulance
Black Honey
All the World Is Mad
Of Dust and Nations
In Exile
Summer Set Fire to the Rain
Hurricane
Buried in the Sun
Just Breathe
Robot Soft Exorcism
Dandelion Wine
The Long Defeat
Firebreather
The Earth Will Shake

Encore:
Beyond the Pines
Anthology

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