THRICE. Forum, London. 30.04.12

This is a big day. That’s clear before the Forum doors even open tonight. There are people in the queue from as far afield as Portugal, Poland, and… er, Putney, and they’re swapping stories about a band that changed their lives. Over the past decade see, Thrice have gone from skate-punk upstarts to a leading light in their scene, scratch that, a pioneer of proper music. They’ve never followed fashions, chased trends or taken an easy road, only written honest emotional, powerful music that will likely outlive even those who have come to hear it for what could be the last time this evening.

A support slot at such a gig could be murder. A grand total of no one is here to hear Brontide play. But that only makes their instrumental onslaught all the more effective. The wiry trio have been making beautiful sounds since their inception but often lacked punch. Not so now. The only thing louder than the wall of noise they finish their first song with is the collective thunk of 3000 jaws hitting the floor. If they keep progressing at this rate they’ll be the best band in the world by Christmas. Hell, even Thrice look worried.

The Orange County quartet needn’t be concerned though. If the giant roar that accompanies their arrival isn’t evidence enough of the assembled throng’s adoration, the way the crowd belt back the words to ‘Yellow Belly’ and ‘Image of the Invisible’ sure is. And while other bands would kill for a single one-two punch like that, Thrice’s back catalogue is peppered with such quality. ‘Silhouette’, a velvet hammer, is perhaps the “old Thrice” song that sounds most like “new Thrice”, a full-band version of ‘Come All You Weary’ still sounds like it was written 1000 years ago, and both ‘Promises’ and a beautiful ‘Words in the Water’ frustratingly illustrate just how much creative gas is left in this outfit’s tank.

There are bumps in the road though. Perhaps hamstrung by the formula, while the band sound tight, they play a set that lurches. Thrice clearly don’t want to play ‘Deadbolt’ ever again (and, when it’s sat next to far smarter cuts like ‘The Messenger’ and ‘All the World Is Mad’ you can hear why), their cover of ‘Helter Skelter’ is great but surely bumps another new song off the list, and a final ‘T&C’, if considered worthy of time at all, should have been dealt with early, as a curio at best, rather than finished the set. As good as it gets, this just isn’t a Thrice set as Thrice would play it so in places it lacks flow and rhythm.

It’s still superb of course. Even by-the-numbers, this is one of the best shows of the year, and when a spontaneous chant of “Thank you Thrice” begins, apparently something the band have never heard before and genuinely catching them off guard, it might go some little way to returning the honesty, heart and passion they’ve handed out over the years.

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