By Adam Smith
After 18 years as a band, Alkaline Trio are now approaching legendary status in the punk leagues. While their scene counterparts have seen their popularity diminish, the Chicago three-piece have maintained a loyal international fan base, and there’s a sea of people awaiting their arrival in Nottingham tonight.
Travel issues deprive me of seeing Bayside, but the impassioned chants of “Trio” heard upon my arrival suggest the New Yorkers warmed up the crowd in style.
With nine studio albums and a bunch of other releases to choose from, creating an Alkaline Trio set list to satisfy everyone is impossible. However, the roar that greets opener, This Could Be Love, gets the show off to an incredible start.
In the early noughties, co-vocalist Matt Skiba was often lambasted by fans for his sloppy, intoxicated vocal performances, but he’s certainly on form tonight. The lyrics of I Wanna Be A Warhol and She Lied To The FBI from latest album My Shame Is True are delivered with infectious gusto that creates a fantastic atmosphere.
At the other side of the stage, Dan Andriano simply looks to be enjoying himself. Every Thug Needs A Lady is a highlight of the evening as Andriano leads the crowd through a huge sing along. One of the few downsides of tonight is that we don’t hear more old songs with him on lead vocals.
As Skiba strains to deliver every last note, Andriano’s vocals drip with palpable emotion and Derek Grant challenges himself with new drum fills, you get the sense that the band are refreshed, revitalised and hungry for more success.
For the most part, Trio pick the right choices from their back catalogue tonight. Jaked On Green Beers, Warbrain and Cringe are all warmly received by pockets of their old school fans, while hits such as Stupid Kid and Time To Waste lift the crowd off their feet.
Unfortunately, Skiba’s delivery falters as the gig goes on, with a muddy rendition of Private Eye showing fatigue. You wouldn’t notice this during set closer, Radio, though. In fact, you can’t hear anything from the microphone at all when the chorus hits as the crowd take over and provide a truly spine-tingling moment.
Even if you’ve been disappointed by Alkaline Trio’s live show in the past, see them as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.