Courtesy of myspace.com/thrice
I hate Saltair. Why, you may ask? Here’s why:
After a 25 minute drive out to no man’s land, I exited the freeway to wait in a line of cars slowing to pay $5 and to be told where to park because there is no option to park anywhere else without the threat of being towed. I was thankful for the fact that I had a press pass for the show because of the ridiculous service charges added to the ticket price. The smell running through my nostrils as I stepped out of the car and walked toward the front doors was the Great Salt Lake. Wonderful. Who doesn’t like the smell of a rotten toilet?
Entering the venue, MeWithoutYou was in the middle of their set, which honestly, I tried to block out of my consciousness, thus beginning a favorite concert pastime: people-watching. I noticed some of the staff are in Halloween costumes, but I didn’t really think much of it for a while.
As soon as MeWithoutYou finished their set I moved my people watching over to the sound booth to get a good place to watch Thrice. I would’ve journeyed upstairs as I do for shows at In The Venue, but at Saltair there is a $5 charge because the upstairs is hailed as The Saltlick, a “Private club for members.” Give me a break.
Thrice humbly walked out on stage and began their set. With my keen eye, I noticed a kid who was playing air drums so hard that if he had actual drums in front of him they would have exploded. The only thing tackier than wearing the shirt of the band you are going to see to their show is playing “Air” anything. As Thrice’s set continued, they began to expand into many new tracks from “Fire,” and “Water,” two pieces of their latest four-EP album, The Alchemy Index. Fire deals mostly with heavier material, while Water comprises keyboards and exhibits a sonic element not mused to this extreme before by the former metal/punk/post-hardcore cronies. The new material sounded just as remarkable as the mix of songs from prior releases. Thrice’s live sound was-as always-full, heavy, unrestrained and above all things, perfect--easily one of the best live bands of the last decade. Though their new tunes may be an evolution and different from other records, their stage presence has only improved over time.
By the time Brand Newtook the stage their fans were in a near frenzy. When I saw Brand New in February at In The Venue, I was between the barricade and the stage taking photos when the fanatical crowd broke the barricade and I had to jump on the stage to avoid being crushed. The same intensity was at Saltair this night. Though as far as I know, no barricades were broken. Toward the middle of their 1 1/2, almost 2-hour set, I noticed the sound of bass from music elsewhere flooding my ears and distracting me. Apparently, there was a huge Halloween event of some sort set to start right after the show and they were throwing a pre-party outside in a tent. Sure enough, I went over and looked out the window only to see girls in their underwear as a costume and guys pretending to be cool. For the rest of the show I just found myself distracted by the costumed people arriving and walking through the show crowd, and the thumping bass coming from outside. Regardless, Brand New played a variety of all their music with focus on much of their new material from The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Though Jesse Lacey stumbled through a few parts on different songs, subsequently blaming it on drugs, the band as a whole performed well and pleased all who were in attendance, especially the air-drummer in front of me.
Leaving that night, there was a line of cars that lined up for 2-4 miles on the freeway waiting to park for the Halloween party, and though I had enjoyed seeing a well-executed show by Thrice and Brand New, boy was I glad to be leaving the stench which is Saltair and begin my long journey home.