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Concert Review: Alkaline Trio in Providence, RI (3/14/10)

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If you’ve worn a black shirt, and raised your fist in agony in the past 10 years, chances are you have at least heard of Alkaline Trio. Alkaline Trio fans are die-hard, like an emo army of punk-rock warriors, much in the same way the hippies have Dave Matthews Band, or just about anybody over 30 has U2. Anyone who is fond of Alkaline Trio’s albums from 1999 to current day, can certainly agree their following is a strong suit. As proven on a tsunami-esque Sunday night in Providence, RI.

Alkaline Trio is made up of Matt Skiba (guitar, lead vocals), Dan Andriano (lead vocals, bass) and Derek Grant (percussion, backing vocals). Although, this is not entirely the original line-up of the band. The members might have changed, and the music might bear a philosophically different point of view, but the intermittent meaning is still very much the same as that very first album that caught everyone's attention, Goddamnit (1998).

Something must be said for a band that has upheld its wide fan base, while continuing to acquire new ones. They've continued through the years, life changes and that scary genre some refer to as “emo”—And yet they are still driving on that endless highway that we all thought might land them in the infamy.

Kicking off the show at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in downtown Providence was The Dear and Departed from California. They were an undemanding way to open up a show of this caliber, not too forceful, but with just enough spunk. The crowd was indifferent which is better than booing.

The following act was from Omaha Nebraska; a band with lyrics living up to its jaded title, Cursive. A hell of a lot more seasoned than the previous act, they happily inaugurated the entire event. Alkaline fans could be a bit surprised, the maturity rattling from Cursive might keep up, right alongside their headliner. The New York Times described Cursive as “Fugazi-like,” and in my opinion this couldn’t have been described any better. Having added a tiny horn section to their performance, they fit in quite nicely with their punk-rock predecessor.

By the time the long awaited Alkaline Trio approached the stage, it was evident they were going to have to thrill the audience. It was late, rainy and a Sunday. And just as my mind started to wander, Great Scott, it seems that they were pulling it off!—without a hitch, this battery collection of now mid-thirty something punk-rock heroes still have it in them. Without showing a muster of their exhaustion. The red and black trilogy did not appear to be any different than they had when Good Mourning (2003), and From Here to Infirmary (2001) were all the rage. They have worked out all their screws and lack-luster melodies.

We’ve all grown up now, our ideals might be a little different, and the band isn’t just singing about heartbreak and drugs. Still reckless, but with a bit more of a political point-of-view — Heeding with the same enthusiasm and energy they’ve always kept about them.

They opened with “Armageddon”, a gallant choice as it's the one song ‘everyone’ will know. They then returned to the classics, playing “Radio” off of Maybe I’ll Catch Fire (2000). I was happy to see them start with the older ones, before serenading us with the new album. I believe this is a necessary step for any band with long-time followers, because let’s face it; if you’ve been around since the beginning, those are the ones you are truly wanting to hear.

Playing with an abrasive approach and capturing the attention of everyone in the theater; they began previewing the new album. From This Addiction they played “Lead Poisoning”, which engulfed the late night Lupo's showcase and proved their vitality.

The vibration and thumping from the kick drum never let up, perfectly poised like an angst-indie-orchestra. They exceedingly pulled off the punk movement. Keeping up with the crowd favorites, they played "Draculina" which turned into something like a sing-along.

Halfway through their performance, the Trio started the shenanigans. They switched back and forth between instruments, even were even accompanied by Tim Kasher from Cursive and his unique trumpet solo in the middle of their set. Alkaline Trio was complimented nicely with a bit of horn, as most punk-rock bands are.

All in all, Alkaline Trio might have gone through the aging process physically, but it has only matured their musical style. Proof is not only in the pudding of their fans, but in their inapt ability to stick by them amongst all of these changes. They are doing something right with their live performances and punk-rock stability.

I strongly suggest old fans, and even new ones, follow Alkaline Trio's updates. Check out their new album they are touring in support of This Addiction, information on their website.

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About Cindal Lee Heart

  • annoyed at this review

    This review is bad. Stright up, bad. I went to see Cursive and was interested in seeing some of the Trio, but probably no thw whole set. And first of all that was NOT Tim Kasher playing the trumput. It was a totally different member of Cursive. And it was for like 20 seconds at most, not much of a solo.

    I left the show when Trio started their last song (it was getting late and I had to drive back to Boston in the rain), and they had not switched instruments once. They also did not play Radio while I was there. I had read in reviews of other shows, and they switched instruments in the encore when they played a Misfits song, perhaps this is what she is talking about.

    This review just has bad, needless mistakes.