Thrice (courtesy of myspace.com/thrice)
I still remember doing my usual check on 24 tix.com for new and upcoming shows and having to rub my eyes a few times to make sure I was seeing was true I saw when I read the bill for this show. Could all four of these bands really be on the same bill? Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Thankfully, it was all true and my anticipation for this show began the very moment the shock wore off.
Arriving at the poorly named Great Saltair (there is nothing great about it), I was greeted as usual by the ever-so-friendly parking attendant demanding five buckaroos from me just for my tires touching the property. As if the service, venue and processing fee on tickets on top of the ticket price for fans wasn’t already enough, a parking fee is administered/forced. What can you do? Nothing.
The line was already weaving around the outside of the venue like a slithering snake when I arrived. In spite of the light drizzle that was coming down, the excitement of the fans for this show overshadowed all else.
New Jersey’s, The Gaslight Anthem, took the stage and began blasting the audience with their Springsteen-infused brand of punk rock. Many, who hadn’t yet heard the musings of TGA, were taken by surprise and enjoyed their set. These NJ boys have a lot going for them right now– not only do they have talent shooting out of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth like the character David Lo Pan from the classic Big Trouble In Little China, but to be on a national tour with scene big wigs like Rise Against, Alkaline Trio and Thrice gives them a huge level of exposure.
Bottom line for TGA: they sounded amazing and their overall stage presence was fantastic. Their new songs from their latest The ’59 Sound and their previous LP, Sink Or Swim, were all played to perfection. The only complaint I had is that there wasn’t more time in between doors opening and them going onstage in order for more people to be able to see this great band.
When Thrice took the stage, they were met with an applause of approval and rightfully so. The band have recently undertaken and completed putting out their series of concept-centered EPs, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Diehard Thrice fans know that they are a progressive band, never doing anything the same-which is also why lukewarm fans have fallen by the wayside and dedicated fans cannot get enough of the band.
With a wide variety of music, Thrice has no shortage of the type of sets they can play, which makes every performance of theirs different from the last. Sure, there are always a few staple songs through the set, but isn’t that what we all come know expect and look forward to? As the band pounded through several songs and crossed from genre to genre, from screaming to singing, from electric guitar to keyboard, they even managed to fit in a cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.” Thrice’s work was not compete until they played a crowd-favorite, “The Earth Will Shake,” allowing all to sing and scream with the band. ¬–Jeremy C. Wilkins
Normally, I detest Saltair. One would assume that a west-side dweller like myself wouldn’t mind the trip to a dank, stinky room populated by X96 aficionados who are just one step above Juggalos in terms of musical fandom, but I know better than them. I hate driving there, I hate having to pay five dollars to park, I hate having to pay five more dollars to get into the bar, and I hate seeing people throw their devil-horned hands into the air after a particularly “sick” solo. However, I let it all slide on this night. Though this show boasted a lineup of some major-label punk-ish bands and a band that will likely end up on a major label in the near future, I still had high hopes. The Gaslight Anthem and Thrice did not disappoint, so I was anxious to see if Alkaline Trio and Rise Against could keep to the same standard.
I had taken some pretty good hits from the crowd during Thrice’s set, so being the prematurely old man that I am, I moved way the hell to the back of the room to watch Alkaline Trio in peace. I haven’t been too impressed by the last few albums from the Trio, but I was still excited to see them. They opened up with “Private Eye,” which was pretty good, but I was surprised to find myself enjoying the next song, “Calling All Skeletons” from their new album Agony & Irony, even more. By the third song, I Lied My Face Off” sung by bassist Dan Andriano, I was fully sold on the band’s set. They did play a few newer songs I’m not too big on (“Sadie”), but they also threw in some awesome stuff from their early days (“Cringe”) and I found a lot of their new stuff to be really enjoyable. My favorite song of their set was probably “I Found Away,” also off of Agony & Irony. It’s a dancey little number that incorporated some elements of darker ‘80s pop into the band’s driving punk formula. Alkaline Trio was probably my least favorite band of the night, but they were still great.
Rise Against is one of those bands that I will always love unconditionally. Sure, they’ve made a couple of sub-par albums (including their hugely disappointing 2008 release, Appeal to Reason), but they were one of those that helped to get me into punk rock. The way the band can combine the harsh and melodic aspects of their sound into anthems of dissent and hope reminded me of Bad Religion (another of the bands I love unconditionally), which is always a good thing. The band took the stage after a lame, pre-recorded intro that I didn’t pay attention to, but as soon as they got into “Drones,” the whole crowd was into it. Vocalist Tim McIlrath swung his microphone over his head like a madman and nearly jumped into the crowd as he let loose with the lyrics. The rest of the band was spot-on and hard as hell, immediately invigorating the crowd with energy. Rise Against ripped through three songs without breathing for a second. The energy died down a little when McIlrath took up the rhythm guitar for “Ready to Fall” and a few others, but it was still intense. The band even reached far back into their catalog and played “Everchanging” from their first album, The Unraveling. My only complaint would be the nasal vocal delivery from McIlrath. His delivery wasn’t bad by any means, but he couldn’t match the intensity capture on a lot of the band’s studio recordings.
I left before Rise Against came back on for their encore (they played two encores, informed sources tell me), but I walked away from this show fully satisfied. –Ricky Vigil