Friday, April 23, 2010

Manchester Orchestra/O Brother tour update (Updated 6/16)

Hey guys, it's been a while. I guess it's been relatively quiet in the Thrice world, but I've got some minor gear updates after catching the Cincinnati show a couple nights ago.

As far as guitars go, they've switched things up quite a bit:
Teppei has 3 guitars, his Gibson Es-335 (it is definitely a 335), the Baritone Jaguar and his Nash Tele. At the Cincinnati show he didn't use the Tele at all, and stuck with the Gibson on all but 2 songs: Firebreather and the Messenger. Apparently the Tele is only getting used for songs in standard or D tuning now. I can't say for sure what those songs are (At the Last? Daedalus?) because like I said, he didn't use the guitar at the show I saw. His Les Paul was apparently acting up before the tour, so he didn't bring it. (Note: The Les Paul is back in the rotation for the Summer tour)

Dustin is using 2 Variax'd guitars: a Maya Les Paul copy and his black Tele Deluxe. The Maya is a Japanese guitar he bought not long ago. It had a very warm, vintage sound. The Tele is the same except the neck pickup has been switched to a Charlie Christian pickup. These pickups were made for jazz initially, but obviously aren't limited to it. They are somewhat similar in sound to a P90 pickup- with more lows than a single coil, more high end than a humbucker and lots of sustain. Thanks to an anonymous commenter (is that a word?) for the tip. Here's a picture of one:

Eddie's main Grabber was also acting up before the tour, so he only had his 2 other Grabbers for this tour. He mostly used the one he built himself for this show. Before the Cincinnati show he bought a Rickenbacker bass at one of Cincy's best guitar shops, Mike's Music, which is next door to Bogarts, the venue they played. Who knows if this will actually get used with Thrice, but it'd definitely be interesting if it did.

Amp-wise, Teppei is using his usual AC30 combo and a Marshall JCM800 head paired with the cab he used with the Supro clone he made himself. The Supro died before the tour and he borrowed the Marshall. His sound is mostly the AC30. The sound guy only adds the Marshall into the mix to "add balls" when needed.

Dustin is using his AC30, which is similar in color to the new handwired series. It is most likely a European model from the late 90s/early 200s though.

Eddie used his Ampeg head with an 8x10 cab. No stereo setup this time around. If I'm not mistaken, every band's bassist used that amp.

Eddie and Dustin's pedalboards are mostly the same, with everyone using M13s heavily. I didn't see Teppei's board. Eddie is using a distortion pedal he bought on the road, which has no writing on it and is just in a silver enclosure (with a pink smiley face sticker, haha).

Teppei's keyboard is a Nord Electro. I'm not sure of the exact model.

I'm going to look for some recent pictures, especially to figure out what neck pickup Dustin is using.

This show was the first Thrice show I've seen since 2008, so I feel obligated to give a review. First off- no stage monitors for Thrice. All they're hearing from the stage is through headphones. I talked to the O Brother guys, who sat on the side of the stage for Thrice's set. They were blown away by how good the sound was from the side of the stage. By all accounts it should've sounded terrible, but they kept talking about how good the mix still sounded. I thought it was cool that they're such big Thrice fans. They played first and were really, really solid. They're a bit Thricey, but I'd describe their sound as psychedelic, but modern and heavy. They had 3 guitars on stage, which was cool. The singer would be playing open chords in a kind of singer-songwriter sort of way, and the other 2 guitarists would do lead/rhythm stuff. It was cool how the guitars blended. Really interesting textures.

Manchester Orchestra played next, and after that show I never want to hear them ever again. Their singer didn't say anything to the crowd except insults (even calling someone a "dumbass"). I'm pretty sure he was really trashed. He was even rude to their guitarist when he mentioned the Invisible Children booth. When they were done playing I was in a bad mood just from watching and listening to them. O Brother set the show up so well and MO just destroyed the good vibe.

Anyway, Thrice came on and opened with 2 Vheissu tunes: For Miles and Of Dust and Nations, which was totally unexpected. I figured they'd play them, but I thought they'd open with something from Beggars. The crowd had less of the obnoxious Deadbolt shouters compared to 2008, but they were still there. I'm assuming they won't be back next time, since Thrice only played 2 pre-Vheissu songs: The Artist in the Ambulance and Silhouette. Dustin's tone on Artist was weird- it sounded like he was using the neck pickup and a clean tone for the palm-muted intro part. I had no complaints about the lack of early stuff- we got a killer version of A Song For Milly Michaelson, a completely unexpected Atlantic and great versions of Firebreather and The Messenger. The Beggars stuff was really great though. They did All The World Is Mad, The Weight, In Exile, Doublespeak, the title track and Circles. Some things to point about those songs: Teppei played keys on all of Doublespeak and Circles- I was a little surprised that the solo at the end of Circles was Dustin, but he nailed it. Beggars was even more epic than The Earth Will Shake, and that's saying something. They only played 14 songs, which was a small letdown since they probably won't play Cincinnati for another 2 years, but what they did play was really, really good. They're so tight and clean live, without sounding sterile and bland. They're just great musicians and it shows. They keep getting better and better.

My thoughts are with the members of Thrice in this difficult time. In light of all this, just be grateful for what and who you have- no matter how little or how few.