Thrice | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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It's funny how just five or six years ago "emo" meant you were fey, tender, midwestern, and poor. Now it means you're macho, riffing, from one of the coasts, and paying off a mortgage. These Orange County dudes have been around since the late 90s, but they're definitely in the latter category. They started out playing metallic popcore for the punk label/nonprofit fund-raiser Sub City, making a name for themselves by touring their asses off. Their fourth album and major-label debut, last year's Vheissu (Island), makes it plain why they have the huge audience they do: they know how to be all things to all people. The opener, "Image of the Invisible," sounds like Fugazi's "Walken's Syndrome" channeled through whoever's opening on My Chemical Romance's next tour. The next song sounds like early Milemarker with a half-mil production budget, and it's followed by what sounds like a version of Neurosis fit for Q101's playlist and some Coldplay-style heavy breathing. If none of that suits you, try the ethereal-Radiohead-with-metalcore-choruses number. The music's big, cheesy, dramatic, and sounds like it's been run through every processing rack known to Guitar Center--but it totally works. Listening to Thrice is like listening to Boston--you know you're getting your buttons pushed, but you give in anyway. They can be chill-inducingly good live too, even if you're desperately trying not to like them. They play on the main stage of the Taste of Chaos tour before headliners the Deftones; Atreyu, Story of the Year, As I Lay Dying, and Funeral for a Friend open. The Receiving End of Sirens, the Confession, Adair, the SmashUp, Greeley Estates, Street Drum Corps, and Inept play on the side stage. Tue 3/14, 5 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison, 312-413-5740 or 312-559-1212, $27.50. All ages.

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