Thrice, the up-and-comers from Orange County, gave a sold-out Rialto crowd a one-hour release of hardcore and punk. A fusion of broodish, delicate "pop punk" with an added dose of Slayer and Metallica-type speed, Thrice mixed melodious thrash, emo and death metal masterfully.
The quartet kicked off the show with "Under a Killing Moon," from their latest release, 2003's The Artist in the Ambulance (Dig) (Island), igniting the crowd into a frantic frenzy. Mosh pits erupted across the Rialto floor, with punches, kicks and bodies flying.
"You guys are nuts," said Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue. "Just be careful and try not to hurt yourselves."
Thrice persuaded the audience to take a breather from moshing to help with backup on more songs from their latest release, including the album's title track, "Eclipse," and "Stare at the Sun." The band paid homage to Iron Maiden with "Blood Clots and Black Holes" and took a cue from Jimmy Page (or Brian Wilson) by trotting out a theremin during "Paper Tigers."
Kensrue tossed his body around and strutted around the stage as if channeling Angus Young of AC/DC, but drummer Riley Breckenridge stole the show from his bandmates. Playing with ferocious intensity throughout the set, Breckenridge mixed various styles of drumming that captured the essence of every song.
Thrice was a perfect demonstration of how a band can have fun despite enduring performance problems. Bassist Ed Breckenridge's equipment went out during the opening number; instead of getting pissed at the Rialto's lack of power, he quickly grabbed another bass from a roadie and continued rocking.
When the group finished up with "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts," the night's workout came to an end. The youthful crowd limped out of the Rialto, some with black eyes, bloodied noses and fat lips.
Was it worth it? Just ask the teenage punk rocker who broke her hand during the show: "Fuck yeah, it was!"