Alkaline Trio is doing one of their four-night "Past Live" sets this weekend (June 4-7) at the Observatory, where they'll play all eight of their studio albums (that means two each night, for those who aren't mathematically inclined).
Here are 10 reasons Alkaline Trio still matters, and why you should go see them.
10. Alkaline Trio broke the "three good records" rule. As a general rule of thumb, most bands put out three solid albums and then start sucking. The Chicago-based (add your own descriptor here) punk group decided to go against that, and put out a handful of records that fans and critics agree are at least decent. Some Trio fans will tell you that everything was downhill after Goddamnit, while many others might prefer From Here to Infirmary, Crimson, Maybe I'll Catch Fire, or Good Mourning. Everyone's got their own favorite album, unlike many punk bands where it's one or two for most of their fan base.
9. Matt Skiba was last seen (in OC) with Blink-182. Remember when Tom DeLonge got kicked out of Blink and they replaced him with some other guy that left a lot of their fans wondering who this Matt Skiba guy was? Yep, he filled in perfectly for Blink at Musink, and now he gets to return to OC for the first time since with his main group. Trio and Blink have almost always been linked, so if you like one, you should try the other.8. They're musically better than most current three-piece bands.
Is Alkaline Trio known for their complicated melodies and extended guitar solos? Not exactly. Do they harmonize and play their instruments better than most of the other trios from the last 25 years? Absolutely. You're going to get a good-sounding show out of them, which is particularly important when playing entire albums.
7. You'll get to hear deep cuts and B-sides. It's nice to go to a show and see the band play only hits, but if you're a real fan of a band, nothing's better than getting to see your favorite unpopular song played for you and the six other people who know it. In the past, after the Trio finishes with their two albums each night, they bust out a couple of rarities and B-sides from singles that never made it on to full albums. If one of those songs is your jam, this might be your only chance to see it performed live.
6. Each of them have new music in their side projects. Between Matt Skiba and the Sekrets, Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room, and drummer Derek Grant's solo album, every member of Trio has new music to promote this year, and they'll each be doing that at a different time. What's that mean? There probably won't be a ton of Trio tours this year, so if you want to see them, now's the time.
5. They aged better than their funny/angry contemporaries. You know those times when you see an older punk band and they just look ridiculous because they're no longer angry teenagers? Or what about when you see a band whose entire set is based around dick jokes, but now they're 40 and just grown men talking about their balls on-stage? Yeah, that's not a problem for the Trio, because outward aggression and inappropriate humor were never really their thing. Singing about super dark romance, drinking, heartbreak, and all of that other fun stuff doesn't really require youth, so late-30s Trio really works just as well as early-20s Trio.
4. Skiba and Andriano offer very different styles of songs. While there are plenty of bands out there with two singers, few have two relatively talented and capable singers who bring separate vocal styles to each of their songs. While Skiba takes the lead on the majority of the tunes, Andriano's vocal gruffness gives his an entirely different feel. And no, "vocal gruffness" isn't code for senseless screaming, the Trio is far from anything resembling a hardcore band.
3. Full album shows are awesome. Back in the old days, when people listened to music on CDs, cassette tapes, and even vinyl records, there was an art to putting together an entire album, not just topping the iTunes charts. Watching a band play their entire albums live harkens back to those long lost times, which brings both nostalgia of your days spinning Good Mourning in the CD slot of your car stereo, and appreciation for how the album is supposed to sound, played continuously.2. Skiba is practically a poet.
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If you're unfamiliar with the Trio's work, read some of the lyrics Skiba's written (or listen to a few songs). Sure, a lot of it's fantasizing about grizzly murders (or being murdered), booze, and getting your heart broken, but some of the lines are pretty damn skillfully crafted. This isn't your friend's angry breakup song, this is romance, loss, death, and whatever else written by a legitimate songwriter.
1. Everyone goes through heartbreak at some point. As previously stated, there are a lot of Alkaline Trio songs about breakup revenge fantasies and heartache (particularly the first half of their career). Odds are, you've probably had a relationship sour and secretly desired harm upon your former significant other. If you haven't had your heart broken, you probably wouldn't understand how people could wish someone would take your radio to bathe with them (plugged in and ready to fall).