It's not often you see a band whose members shred onstage one minute and plug their favorite charity the next. But hardcore California quartet Thrice, which played the 9:30 club Thursday, is all about giving back.
"This next song, hopefully, will act as a reminder for you guys," said frontman Dustin Kensrue while introducing "Cold Cash And Colder Hearts." "It's very easy to get comfortable and complacent when you could be helping people." Kensrue then encouraged the capacity crowd to visit www.invisiblechildren.com, which fights the problem of child abduction in northern Uganda, before the group launched into the track, whose lyrics admonish, "They are sick, they are poor / And they die by the thousands and we look away."
In front of a wall-size version of the album cover of Thrice's latest release, "Vheissu" -- which was designed by author Dave Eggers and filled with slogans such as "Open Your Eyes" and "Hold Fast Hope" -- the band countered Kensrue's cordial banter with their nu-metal ferociousness: Riley Breckenridge's bass drum could stop your heart, lights flashing out at the audience punctuated frenetic beats, and guitarist Teppei Teranishi, well, one could imagine he woke up with a serious case of headbanger's neck Friday morning.
"Vheissu" (whose title comes from a Thomas Pynchon novel) has been deemed more complex and melodic -- or some would say wussier -- than Thrice's usual brand of screamo. Played live, however, even the gentler of the new tracks, like the almost-ballad "Red Sky," took on a crowd-appreciated aggressive edge.
-- Tricia Olszewski
The Jerusalem Trio
The Jerusalem Trio gave perfunctory performances of the first two works they played Thursday night at the Library of Congress -- renderings that left one unprepared for what came after intermission.
Pianist Yaron Rosenthal, violinist Roi Shiloah and cellist Ariel Tushinsky certainly showed plenty of virtuosity in Joseph Haydn's Piano Trio in A and Johannes Brahms's Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor, and occasionally a glimmer of wit or anger surfaced that seemed to promise some real music making. But mostly the trio's tempos were a degree too fast for comfort, with no pauses to let melodies breathe or rhythmic freedom to let them sing, so that the charm of the Haydn and the sorrow of the Brahms barely registered.
In Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," however, the trio delivered a wrenching performance. The music itself encourages contemplation and devotion, with its transcriptions of bird song, fierce announcements of the end of days and slow, ecstatic meditations on divinity. And the addition to the ensemble of clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein -- who filled his solo movement, "Abyss of the Birds," with magnetic fantasy and integrated seamlessly with the trio -- no doubt helped. But the transformation was still remarkable, especially in the angular, fearsome "Dance of Fury for Seven Trumpets" and in "Homage to the Eternity of Jesus" and "Homage to the Immortality of Jesus"; the latter two brought music that reached for infinity, taken slow and steady, that no one seemed to want to end.
-- Andrew Lindemann Malone