As time has gone by, I’ve always wondered which musicians people will reflect upon twenty to thirty years from now as being significant. Our parents (depending on their age) had The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. Their great songwriters could have been people such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, or Joni Mitchell. In all honesty, what I’ll have to tell my children (should I be so blessed) when they ask me about the innovative, talented, and profound artists of my youth is troublesome. There are few who I believe will have an effect on our culture that is both notable and positive.
One group, however, continues to give me hope, and they are Thrice. On August 13th, 2011, I was fortunate enough to see them for third time. This show was at the newly renovated Yost theater in Santa Ana, and Thrice’s show was part of a series of events that celebrated its grand reopening.
...[Thrice] opened with ''Yellow Belly'', the first single from their new album, Major/Minor. The song is bare-bones rock and roll, with a juicy, bluesy guitar riff in the beginning that punches the listener in the gut like the fist of man that is not to be messed with. From there they transitioned into ''The Weight'', and their classic ''Artist In The Ambulance'', while some ruffian standing next to me thought it was a good idea to start fighting (during Thrice?). They also played four more new songs, all of which were enjoyable. Without a doubt, my favorite was ''Anthology''. If you pre-order the vinyl of Major/Minor, you receive an instant download of the acoustic version of that song. Other highlights included their playing 'Red Sky', ''Daedalus'', and their closing song, ''Beggars''. Of the three times that I’ve seen them, twice they closed with ''Beggars''. It’s always an epic yet haunting end to a show, the implications of its lyrics sticking with the listener. The crowd, however, demanded more, and Thrice came back on stage for an encore, playing ''Deadbolt'', an old favorite that left the audience satiated.
This evening revived my admiration for this band, and I have high hopes for Major/Minor to continue to reflect Thrice’s creative songwriting and poignant lyrics. Singer/guitarist Dustin Kensrue has infused his lyrics with theological and philosophical depth that sticks with the thoughtful listener long after the record is turned off. ''Beggars'' alludes to the last recorded words of theologian Martin Luther, the man who initiated the protestant reformation and changed western civilization: ''We are beggars, this is true''. These words posit that, at the end of the day, there is nothing we can take total credit for; rather, we are beggars at the table of divine grace. I hope that all those who listen to Thrice would carefully ponder this. Dustin Kensrue exemplifies this humility, and having the honor of getting to know and play with him through Mars Hill Church Orange County has encouraged me in seeing how I am a beggar too.
So when my kids ask me about who I listened to in my younger years, I think I’d answer with Thrice, if for no other reason than to point them to a band that points their listeners to something more, a feat that I hope to accomplish with my life.
Sunday, September 25, 2011