Alkaline Trio at Alex's Bar Last Night

Alkaline Trio
Nov. 13, 2010
Alex's Bar

I can't put my finger on it. Alkaline Trio is a three-piece punk band with a straightforward sound whose songs don't bear any unusual or quirky arrangements or elaborate instrumentation. Yet last night they hit the tiny stage at Alex's like a cyclone and thoroughly killed it. 
Take note, all you bands who want  to make it as a three piece, watch how A.T. do it. At no point during their 19-song set did they sound poorly mixed or less than beefy.

Part of this was due to the fact that every person in the packed bar seemed to know the words to every song and raised their voices with vigor. The performance benefited from this in  two ways: the massive sense  of community vibrating through the room fed the band's energy, and each song, with its catchy anthemic hooks, was augmented by the chorus of voices. 
Singer Matt Skiba shined on such tunes as “Bleeder” off 2000's self-titled release, featuring out-of-print eps and 7″s. And what made this song about unrequited love so incredible was Skiba's prolonged howl backed by drummer Glen Porter's galloping, stuttering percussion. As Skiba screamed “My heart bleeds for what you never did,”  the tendons on his neck visibly bulged and the mood in the room turned rowdy. People were dragged out the side door by security. 

Not to be outdone, bassist Rob Dornan led the charge on several songs including the sentimental rocker “Another Innocent Girl” off 2001's From Here to Infirmary. Looking a bit like a taller version of actor Stanley Tucci, Dornan doesn't have the same presence as Skiba but he definitely has the more distinctive voice. A throaty croon, it's reminiscent of '90s power pop band The Smoking Popes. 
 Most refreshing about evening's performance, which found the band  swimming in well-tread reservoir of punk creativity is that unlike evey other punk imprint in the world, Alkaline Trio conveys intense emotion without ever coming across as whiny. It's sort of what one should expect from a straight-forward band.

The crowd: A typical Alex's crowd, as salty as ever. Only instead of sallowed cheeked washed-out punk rock girls, the room was in full bloom with a bevvy of tatooed beauties. And it was clear they were enjoying themselves. At least one girl was seen running her hands through the back of her long blonde hair with eyes closed mouthing the words to the songs. Believe me when I say, I was preparing to witness an orgasm.
Overheard: “This is fucking awesome,” said one girl. Judging by her height it was unclear if she was an underage fan or a really tall dwarf.
Maybe I'll Catch
Fatally Yours
I was a Prayer
You've Got
My Friend Peter
Another Innocent Girl
Queen of Pain
Jaked On the Green
This Addiction
Cooking Wine
San Francisco

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