Thrice, Kevin Devine, Bad Veins @ House of Blues 6.17.10
by Rob Petrini and Kyle Kowalsky (both Music Industry), published June 24th 2010
Upon entering the House of Blues on Lansdowne St. and seeing the merchandise booth for Thrice, a rush of memories from my high school days came flooding back to me. 2002 was the first year I saw Thrice live at Warped Tour, just months after purchasing The Illusion Of Safety. Standing in the crowd looking up at these talented musicians, I was absolutely in awe of the music that was coming from the four on stage. Ever since then, they’ve been one of those bands that have never left my cd player and never will. Who would’ve thought after all these years that they’d still be releasing music, especially music that’s better than most produce in their lifetime?
The first band that I caught that night was indie rock duo (plus Irene, the ever-present vintage reel to reel player, as a third member) Bad Veins from Cincinnati, OH. This was my first time seeing them live, although my concert buddy Kyle Kowalsky had seen them twice before. I was absolutely blown away by their performance and unconventional stage set-up and presence. With drummer Sebastien Schultz set up on stage right, Benjamin Davis at stage left and Irene center stage, the closeness of the group focuses your vision on them and makes you forget the bareness of the surrounding stage.
The large sound of the drums crashed through the hall as the timid, crackling voice of Benjamin Davis accompanied the beautiful arrangement coming from Irene. The best way to visualize their set is to picture waves crashing on the shore, with occasional lulls that break up the booming guitar and drums. For their last song, Davis sang through an old rotary phone that doubled as a microphone with an added speakerphone effect. Schultz hung up the phone as he began to make his way offstage ‘ one of the best endings to any set I’ve seen ‘ and the crowd knew it was over.
Kevin Devine’s set consisted of a healthy portion of his latest full length “Brother’s Blood,” including the title track, lead single “I Could Be with Anyone,” and the dynamic “Carnival,” which was highlighted by the band’s enthusiastic performance. There were some other gems mixed in, my personal favorites being the classic and ever-so-angsty “Cotton Crush” and a small snippet of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy,” performed in a fashion that surely flew right over most of the audience’s head. I wouldn’t necessarily blame them, though, as Thrice do not quite wear Jeff Magnum’s influence on their sleeves as much as other bands do.
Finally, it was the moment we were all waiting for: time for the main act, Thrice. The California natives have been able to supersede all expectations of moving up to a major label despite their genre. After many years of seeing them live, this was my first time seeing them play together after Dustin Kensrue’s solo project. The energy, the presence, even the smiles on their faces proved to me that after 12 years of making music, if you’re doing what you love, your fans will know it and stand by you. That was the case at the House of Blues in Boston.
While their track “Deadbolt’ wasn’t apparent in their set, they did however give the best of both worlds by closing their main set with “To Awake and Avenge the Dead” and their encore with “Beggars,” which may be my new favorite closer for them. Each member gave a solid performance, with the high level of musicianship of Teppei on guitar, keyboard and vocal harmonies. He has always been one of my favorite musicians to watch live. The power and passion he puts into every note and movement is beyond anything you’ll see on a regular basis. Dustin Kensrue as always is that front man that doesn’t need to be in your face to make you sing but his presence and love for what he’s doing make you want to join him when singing, ‘We are the image of the invisible.’ As the night began to dwindle down to the remaining songs of their set, there was a feeling of gratification from the fans that looked onto the band with adoring eyes even after all these years.
Check out live footage from the show here: