Words by Matt New
Photos by Angie New Photography
With all of the recent anniversary tours in Australia of late, it is becoming increasingly harder to believe how quickly the past 20 years have flown by. The simple notion of nostalgia enforced by our favourite bands and their most iconic releases allows us to briefly escape to a simpler time, and reconnect with our youth. Thrice’s The Artist and The Ambulance is a classic example of musical work that has remained relevant and ever present in the heavy music community over the past few decades, and getting the opportunity to see this fine act perform this album in its entirety was a mouthwatering prospect. After seeing Thrice back in 2019 when they toured nationally for their Palms album, I knew this show would be a highly sentimental offering for die-hard fans alike.
The Metro Theatre in the heart of the Sydney CBD has been a favoured venue for Thrice over the decades, where they have almost exclusively performed every Australian tour apart from one. A venue that offers a very intimate atmosphere that allows both fans and artists to feel more connected. So it’s no wonder we were here again for this special occasion.
Joining Thrice on their 20th anniversary tour of The Artist and The Ambulance as the opening act was Wifecult from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. The 3-piece rock outfit boasted some catchy hooks and an interesting mix of sounds that made them a perfect fit for the event. Like many others attending this gig, this was the first time I’d experienced Wifecult, and as I am fond of many 3-piece bands; I was instantly drawn to these young troubadours. It was evident they are highly influenced by acts such as Nirvana, Something For Kate and even in parts, Biffy Clyro. An infectiously tight ensemble that was highly engaging and showcased some amazing songwriting and live energy. Tracks like Wearing Thin highlighted their talents, whereas tracks like Deadman proved they were adaptable, with lead vocals switching between guitarist Jarith Hughes to bassist Joey Keating. A completely enjoyable experience by a band that is fairly new on the scene, with a great trajectory for success awaiting them.
As the lights remained dim to the groovy beats of Wu Tang Clan, you could feel the anticipation and energy building in the room. Thrice punctually made their way onto the Metro stage and immediately launched into the fast-paced album opener Cold Cash and Colder Hearts. The crowd erupted into a frenzy, and the mosh pit looked like a highly volatile sea of chaos, accompanied by the sounds of the entire venue singing along word for word. For such an unassuming and humble band, Thrice conjures a brutal power that allows them to successfully exist across multiple genres of the heavy music universe. The technical and metalcore style riffs of Under a Killing Moon is a perfect example of how versatile, and proficient this band is.
Frontman Dustin Kensrue has an incredible ability to beautifully navigate between the catchiest of vocal melodies with the dulcet tones, like vocalists such as Bono from U2; yet turn into an absolute beast with amazingly powerful guttural growls that many metal bands would be jealous of possessing. Softly spoken whilst talking to his loyal followers, the band was clearly caught up in the emotion of this show. Songs like Silhouette, Paper Tigers and Hoods on Peregrine showcased the band’s aggressive sound, whilst the contrast of tracks like All That’s Left and Stare At The Sun mesmerised a captivated audience in awe.
Guitarist Teppai Teranishi was almost impossible to take your eyes off as his unique guitar style and technique was something amazing to witness. A highly underrated musician that is endowed with an incredible ability for lead guitar passages that would make many shredders weep. Not only does he do it with ease, but he does it on instruments he has manufactured himself, a talent that transcends his
instrument. Brothers Eddie and Riley Breckenridge provided a solid, meticulous and precise rhythm section. Eddie provided some amazing backing vocals whilst Teppai was lost in his guitar leads, complementing Dustin’s gravelling tones with pitch-perfect harmonies.
Throughout the show, it was refreshing to see a lack of phone screens filming every moment performed by the band. The importance of this show really hit a nerve with the crowd, allowing everyone to enjoy the show at that exact moment in time like we would have done twenty years ago prior to smartphones existing. Cue the title track The Artist and The Ambulance and I could not see one person who was not singing to this iconic track. To the point Dustin allowed the crowd to sing large portions of the intro before his band entered into the mix. The anthemic nature of this track stirred some important emotions in the audience as a young lady near me was smiling with tears running down her cheeks.
Concluding the entire live performance of The Artist and The Ambulance album, Thrice then proceeded to treat everyone to a snapshot of tracks across their 24-year career in the mainstream. Including Deadbolt, my personal favourites Yellow Belly and Firebreather and ending a 22-track set with Black Honey and The Earth Will Shake. The earth may have not shook in that exact moment, but the Metro Theatre certainly did as you could feel the power of every kick drum slap through the floor. This live performance trumped the last outing in which I witnessed the LA Quartet. Not only did you feel energised by the incredible aura of this album being performed live, but Thrice’s music is deceivingly uplifting. A perfect evening of high-quality entertainment that was summed up by one of the best live experiences I have witnessed.