Three Day Threshold back from Belgium
BMS talks with Kier Byrnes about the band
Boston’s own Three Day Threshold are huge in Belgium. Every time I think about that it makes me laugh, but it’s true. For some reason their particular brand of alt-country bluegrass Americana rock resonates overseas, and the same band that frequents Atwood’s and Matt Murphy’s has played for crowds as big as a thousand people in Europe.
Three Day Threshold have always done things a bit differently though. For one thing, there is their aforementioned hybrid sound, not necessarily one that you hear that often on the radio. They rented out a Legion hall and a mechanical bull for their record release party for their excellent album Against the Grain. And then there’s this whole Belgium thing, which has been documented in their latest release, the live album Lost in Belgium.
"It was different," Kier says of the band’s second Belgium stint. "The first time had a lot of novelty, and I had never been to Belgium before but there were a lot of people who knew our songs. This time a hell of a lot more people knew our songs, we had a lot of return customers so to speak."
Kier cites one fan in particular that stood out. "There was one guy who knew every singe one of our songs, including B-sides, and he was writing down songs as we played them," he recalls. "He came up to us after the show and asked us what the three songs he didn’t know in our three hour set were. He even knew the sound check."
Why is a Boston band so successful in Belgium? Kier has a few theories. One has to do with the burgeoning roots scene in the country, and the other has to do with 3DT’s personal approach and experiences. "99.999 percent of the world doesn’t know that we exist anyways because we’re in such a niche market, so anytime we go out the importance of connecting with your audience is there," he explains. "So learning how to connect with people and fans here has allowed us to go on tour and connect with people we’ve never met before."
There were plenty of experiences in Belgium that the band probably would not have been able to have here in the States, such as a gig in a maximum security prison (the walls had "electric fences, shards of broken glass, and razor wire" at different intervals to prevent escape) or eating the local delicacies in different towns ("one place served us horse. I have to say it was quite delicious.").
The band is excited to be home, however, and ready for this weekend’s show at the Paradise. Rodfest will be their ninth time playing the room, and though they’re used to local bars, they are more than up for the challenge. "It’s definitely different than playing in some of our other favorite places where we literally fall off the stage," says Kier. "Playing to a bigger crowd though, obviously we’re not gonna complain about that."
Playing three hour sets in Belgium, sometimes twice a day, certainly counts for a lot of training time, and fans looking to get a taste of what Saturday might be like can check into Lost in Belgium, a concert document of the most honest kind. The band began setting up a couple of microphones in the bar to record sets for posterity and future band critiques, but they ended up liking what they got.
"It felt a lot like the Velvet Underground Live at Max’s Kansas City," says Kier. "Just a really raw live recording. We all have a tendency in the studio to go back and fix parts that we think we flubbed, but we really wanted to record it for posterity, and just say, ‘This is what we sound like live. This is it.’"
The disc starts off slow and picks up about halfway through, which is what Kier says most of the band’s sets were like. "The first set always starts a little mellow, a little slow, and that’s because everybody’s still getting their drink on and feeling the vibe out," Kier says. "Then at the set break we came out, threw on a little banjo to mix it up, then pick up the tempo. It depends on where you’re starting out in the night."
No matter where you start out, the disc ends with "Pub With No Beer", "Drunken Sailor", and "Face Up", so that might tell you all you need to know about a Three Day Threshold show. Find out for yourself Saturday night at Rodfest. And don’t forget to try the horse.
Three Day Threshold plays the Paradise Rock Club this Saturday for Rodfest 7. Tickets are $15 or $20 at the door. More info is available at www.myspace.com/threedaythreshold.