During my college years, Thrice’s Artist In the Ambulance seemed to live inside my cd player, filling my bedroom with post-hardcore anthem after post-hardcore anthem. With Koko sold-out, it seemed I wasn’t the only one with a special place in my heart for the band, as wall to wall and on every balcony of the venue, fans piled in to fill every space available. After a break-necked opening set from Wolverhampton rockers God Damn, it was time for the main event.
With their first album for five years released last May, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, Thrice have now moved on from the period of reformation following their hiatus, and are creating new material once more. Opening on Hurricane from this latest album, a Soundgarden-esque piece of stadium-worthy rock, they seemed to be comfortable in the own skin again as they performed more tightly and energetically than when I saw them last at Hevy in 2015. With nearly all of the crowd singing along, it’s clear that these fans weren’t just there for the old-school classics either, not something that’s afforded to every band with such a discography.
That said, those that were wouldn’t have long to wait as a three-pronged attack of Artist In the Ambulance, Silhouette and Of Dust and Nations followed. Through them all frontman Dustin Kensrue’s vocals soared powerfully and dredged up the angst of youth in all the right places, a vocal performance that didn’t disappoint throughout the night’s proceedings. Black Honey then received one of the largest reactions of the evening, as it’s distinctive riff kicked in and Riley Breckenbridge hammered down on the drums. It’s another polished track ideally designed for the largest of stages, and one that I can imagine is going to down brilliantly at festivals.
Daedalus, Blur, Red Sky and Promises came next as Eddie Breckenridge worked the crowd moving from power stance to power stance as he hit riff after riff. Burn the Fleet, Yellow Belly and Deadbolt followed each track seemingly getting the audience into an ever-increasing frenzy. Stare At The Sun has always been a personal favourite, and with several thousand voices proclaiming they’re “Due for a miracle”, hearing it live again was a particularly special moment.
The catchy new track Blood On The Sand then got an airing, before Firebreather saw the riffs get a bit more crunching from Teppei Teranishi. Death From Above and The Earth Will Shake saw the set brought to its initial close to loud cheers and calls for an encore. Returning for a finale of Beggars and The Long Defeat, Thrice smashed their set out of the park and left the stage triumphant. A few years back I thought that perhaps I’d never get to see this Irvine troupe again, now they’re back and seem here to stay – if you were at KOKO too, you know just what fucking good news that is.