I’m not a huge fan of live albums. The only one I can remember liking was Blink 182’s The Mark Tom and Travis Show (and half of that can be attributed to the hundreds of fart jokes Mark and Tom told between songs). However, I was excited to hear that the post-rockers Thrice were releasing one before the end of 2008. Earlier in the year they released the third and fourth installments of their ambitious Alchemy Index EP project, so to hear that they were giving something else to fans was a welcome announcement. I didn’t expect to be blown away, but wouldn’t you know it, I was.
It really helped that I had seen these guys live before. I would definitely put their live act up there on my personal list of best shows, on par with Brand New and the Arcade Fire. Listening to Live at the House of Blues brought back memories of being blown away by Dustin Kensrue’s booming voice and guitarist Teppei Teranishi’s simple but powerful and well-placed guitarwork in person. They’re just one of those bands whose live shows make listening to their recorded material that much better, and the live album serves as a perfect reminder of that. The album houses a nice variety of their music that does justice to the band’s discography, including tracks from The Illusion of Safety, The Artist in the Ambulance, Vheissu, and The Alchemy Index Vols. I-IV (although I wish they would’ve given some love to “Image of the Invisible”). If you’re at all a fan of the band, then pick this album up. But it’s by no means a substitute to their live show. Go see them as soon as possible.