Thrice and Chon live at the Fillmore in Silver Spring

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Review and Photography by Jacob G.

Here are some examples of musicians who play instruments:
Thrice and Chon November 16, at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Radio has played a leviathan role in the fueling of commercial success stories, and yet I never listen to it. Though streaming services are exactly what the consumer wants, major bands have shared their profit margins which are equivalent to a few pennies on the dollar, so I also rarely listen to that (I don’t have an unlimited data plan). In a post-napster age, the entire music industry is still looking for answers and ways to survive.

On Tuesday, the 13th of this month, I ran a small part of an ongoing experiment. I’m always curious to know what the few major music conglomerates are shoving into the FM frequency range. While stripping away any emotion or my attachment to contrasting indie projects, on a business level, it’s interesting to know what millions and millions of dollars worth of financial investment sounds like when it is passed through a series of brick-wall compressors sent to fairly primitive electronic devices, on haphazard speakers or headphones. I did this in preparation for the Thrice show on Thursday of that week. I felt like it would allow me to experience the concert in a different way, a preluding stark contrast. As I gave each FM station about 10 seconds of a chance my first conclusions were this:

1.) Oldies are Goldies.

Ok, I get it, the 1990s are such an iconic period where everything changed, and they hardly feel like oldies, but they are. Beck’s Morning Phase was surrounded with critical praise, but somehow “Loser” is still being shoved into rock stations across the US and beyond. Media Conglomerates are not idiots. They are doing this for a financially viable reason. People want to hear the hits.

2.) Taylor Swift has taken over.

After flipping through a few stations I realized that about 75% of the radio stations out there are either playing songs that sound like Taylor Swift or are actually Taylor Swift. This applies to all stations, even the “hard” rock stations.

After meticulously scanning the radio for about 15 minutes for any station that was playing any song that I felt was half decent, I concluded that complex and interesting music in commercial outlets is like finding a needle in a haystack of turntables.

Now, enter the indie band and label. I mainly listen to these types of bands. Despite the fact that other projects receive more investment from their companies, these to me sound better and get a better reaction from me. Some of us only listen artists on labels like Sub-Pop which ironically is a subsidiary of Warner. Vagrant a subsidiary of BMG. Equal Vision is mainly indie, but has a distribution deal with RED which is a subsidiary of Sony.

It’s almost like you can’t escape these conglomerates. It drives me nuts that everything sounds like Taylor Swift. I grew up with bands like Thrice.

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I’ve seen Thrice multiple times. I keep going back to their shows for a few reasons. One of which is that they are artists in it’s truest sense. Every album they released sounds like it came from a completely different place in their lives. Of course they evolve, just like an artist should, because artists are human beings. We grow, we change.

The main thing that stuck out to me this time around was the rhythm section. The Breckenridge bros have one of the most solid and energetic relationships in their genre. The Gibson Grabber naturally paired well Galvanized Steel shells by Q Drum Co. Eddie and Riley Breckenridge have been fine tuning their sync for the better half of 20 years and it really shows. Their 15 song set was on point, and not over do the praises for Thrice, but like a proper tour act should do, they played a little bit of everything they’ve done and showcased their latest offering, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere.

Chon was a delightful surprise. They are a new-ish band, and they play indie / jazz influenced shred/prog. I was really happy when I discovered them, because it’s pretty mind blowing what they are accomplishing. They riff and noodle the entire time and it’s tasteful. You feel like a smarter listener afterwords. I feel bad for anyone who showed up late and missed their set. Their set was one of the most memorable elements of the night.

I have friends who have gone pretty deep financially in the red on tours. So if pumping Taylor Swift-like music into the FM frequencies is helping Chon and Thrice stay afloat and on tour, let me hear some Taylor Swift right now, and let’s all shake it off.

Catch these bands on the remainder of their tour:

11/29/17 Toronto, ON @ Rebel

12/01/17 Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory

12/02/17 Cleveland, OH @ Agora

12/03/17 Detroit, MI @ Fillmore

12/05/17 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater

12/06/17 Clive, Iowa @ 7 Flags Event Center

12/07/17 Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom

12/08/17 Maplewood, MN @ Myth

 

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