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EXCLUSIVE: Thrice Drummer Riley Breckenridge Talks Rockstar Disrupt Fest Hometown Show in Irvine

The Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival is exactly what the name embodies: rock & roll heaven. Described as a “new music festival experience,” this one-day touring festival brings together some of the biggest names in the genre of rock as a whole. 

On Saturday, July 20, the all-star lineup — The Used, Thrice, Circa Survive, Sum 41, The Story So Far, Atreyu, Sleeping With Sirens, Andy Black, Four Year Strong… the list goes on — takes over FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine. If you attended Power 106’s The Liftoff at the same venue, you already know there’s nothing in the world that beats the Cali sun. 

Seeing The Used on the bill sparks instant nostalgia, bringing back the good old days of Vans Warped Tour and emo rock. The rock band consisting of lead singer Bert McCracken, Jeph Howard on the bass, Dan Whitesides on the drums and Joey Bradford on the guitar formed in Orem, Utah, in 2001. Eighteen years later, they still shut down every stage and every arena, performing hit singles “The Bird and the Worm,” “The Taste of Ink,” “All That I’ve Got,” and of course, “Blue and Yellow.”

Co-producer Sean Akhavan states, “We felt there was a void for a summer festival featuring rock/emo/screamo/heavy rock bands.” 

The Used (Megan Thompson)

What’s special about this show is that only one act performs at a time, allotting all your eyes and ears on the artist who’s up to bat. Unlike Coachella or Lollapalooza, you no longer need to choose between which artist to go see, which oftentimes leads to the sacrifice of missing the set of another artist you love (and paid for).

Not only are customers getting the bang for their buck, they don’t have to worry about set time conflicts. How often are we trying to jet across the campgrounds or arena to catch 10 minutes of one set, before we have to jet all the way back just to catch 15 minutes of another set? Rockstar Disrupt means no interruptions or distractions — this is a full day of rock, free of stress and worry.

The Irvine show proves to be one of the most highly-anticipated dates, primarily because Irvine-bred rock band Thrice will be taking the stage in the hometown they grew up in. The Orange County quintet came into fruition in 1998 by then high school friends Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi. Spanning over two decades in the game, Thrice is prominent for their unique sound laced with heavily-distorted guitars and genre-bending experimental styles.

In an exclusive with Irvine Weekly, Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge states, “It’s going to be awesome to headline such a huge venue in the city we started the band in. I’m pretty sure it’ll be the first time we’ve headlined Irvine proper since we played house shows back in the late ’90s.”

Aside from their own set, Riley looks forward to the intimacy of having friends and family in attendance.

He adds, “Getting to see family and friends, and having them be able to see us do what we do. We’ve been touring a lot (for us) on this record and get to experience the rush of playing music for people every night. Getting to share that rush with the people closest to you is really special.”

That record is the group’s Deeper Wells EP, which was released earlier this year. Serving as a conjunct piece to last year’s Palms, Deeper Wells is a collection of four songs created by a band who stays true to themselves while expanding and breaking down different genre barriers.

And still, it’s the combination of both OGs and new cats who appear on the lineup, bridging the gap between both old and new generations alike. This not only gives the up and comers a chance to rock out with the legends, but serves as inspiration for where they hope to take their career: all the way to the top.

Regardless, Akhavan reminds us that each band at “Rockstar Disrupt will be able to play with proper production.” 

On top of the festival stage, there will be endless picturesque opportunities and on-site activations from all the latest in lifestyle brands. These pop-up experiences go hand in hand with the chill, laidback vibrations that the O.C. is known for. Whether you’re active on social media or not, this will be one day of genuine energy and a shared love for live music — not to mention good company!

The line-up was carefully handpicked by a team of rock veterans, of course, with the help of Rockstar Energy Drink as the title sponsor. In addition to being readily available for audiences to chill down and enjoy, Rockstar plays a crucial part in making this event what it is: summer’s premiere touring festival!

As far as Thrice’s return home, Akhavan states, “It will be very special for the fans.” 

What’s not allowed? Bad vibes and bad attitudes. Tickets start at $24.99 and can be purchased via Live Nation. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. with no re-entry. Meet & Greet packages are available too.

Juliet Simms (Ashley Osborn)