Alkaline Trio – 21/5/10 [O2 Academy Birmingham]

To view photos for this show, see my Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/twobeatsoff/

There was a lot of trouble concerning this show. To begin with, I wasn’t even planning on going – I was going to catch the 30th anniversary Bad Religion show instead. However, my friend bought a ticket and wanted me to go with her, so I gave up on the Bad Religion (I could always dream that they were doing Reading Festival this year) and booked myself in. That same friend then didn’t get her ticket in time for the show and couldn’t go. It could have potentially turned into a disaster, but I’d persuaded Kitteh to come along a couple of weeks previously, so everything was just peachy in the end.

Alkaline Trio are always one of those bands that I’d missed on pretty much every tour they ever did. Even if I was in the same vicinity as them, I ended up missing them, which I found pretty weird for one of my favourite bands. I put it partly down to transport – I used to have to get my dad to drive me everywhere – and also down to lots of other bands touring at the same time. When you’re relying on other people to get you there, you have to go with what they say. So term time means easy access to Birmingham, which means I get to go to shit. And then get yelled at by my mother for spending money. However, I think if she’d have witnessed the Alkaline Trio set, she’d heartily approve.

First up on the bill were Me Vs Hero, a pop-punk band from Blackpool. Well, I say pop-punk, but this sure as hell wasn’t some Fall Out Boy shit – this was from the new school of pop-punk spliced with hardcore, which is precisely what I like. They were much better than I expected them to be, but then I realised that they would be when I saw their baseball t-shirts at the merch stand. To get a clear idea of their sound, imagine New Found Glory but with a lot more breakdowns and a lot more British. Though they may be lacking the diversity of NFG’s sound, they certainly weren’t lacking the passion and played brilliantly. The set was ridiculously fun, and I can tell that I’ll be hearing a lot more from them. The ‘pop-core’ sound is perfect for the summer and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a lot more jumping around, hair flying everywhere and sweet, sweet breakdowns at Reading. Even if their guitarist did have some very girly sounding screams.

Next up were Set Your Goals, also on Epitaph, which I suppose links how they were playing with Alkaline Trio. I thought that the two supporting bands possibly didn’t fit so well with the headliner, but even so, I was glad they were there. Would it be going too far to suggest that Set Your Goals were the best band of the evening? I certainly don’t think so. I saw SYG at Reading and, if I’m being honest, wasn’t all that impressed. Their sound was a bit weak then, but they had no problem owning the venue tonight with their own brand of pop-punk. Despite the lack of a circlepit, the set was excessively fun as they whipped out some old material in the form of ‘Goonies Never Say Die’ and some new stuff from their latest release, ‘This Will Be The Death Of Us’. The dual vocalist effect worked much better here than at Reading, but even so, I’d love to see Set Your Goals in a much smaller venue, as I think that’s where their sound would come out best. Not to mention the crowd would probably go fucking mental. Kitteh was very enthralled with Audelio’s screams as he threw his guitar at Jordan and took centre stage to show us all how to growl like a real man! The new material sounded absolutely stellar and I’m very much looking forwards to their next headline tour.

Alkaline Trio had the best opening of any band ever. Even better than when Story Of The Year came on to the Star Wars theme. Only Alkaline Trio can get away with dancing onto the stage to a bit of ghoulish pop. Fresh off their European tour, Alkaline Trio were headlining a big tour across the UK and Birmingham was the first to witness it. Dan Andriano came out with a fantastic beard, Matt Skiba had a proper old man cap… oh, if only fightclubsandwich were there. That was probably the most accessible part of their set however, because if you weren’t a huge Alkaline Trio fan, you’d have been entirely lost by half of their set. While they covered a couple of singles like ‘Private Eye’, ‘Stupid Kid’ and ‘We’ve Had Enough’, the vast majority of their set was built up of ‘From Here To Infirmary’ material and previous, leaving much of the audience lost, including Kitteh. However, I’ve been listening to this shit since I was 10, so I was alright. Even if you didn’t get their set so much, you could still appreciate the performance, as it was absolutely blinding. Their skill as musicians was certainly showcased well as the band swapped around for the encore with Dan on guitar and Matt on drums, and he certainly mixed up his vocals gloriously throughout the rest of the show, displaying that yes, Alkaline Trio aren’t just revered for their dark, tongue in cheek lyrics. Even though there was plenty of that on show with ‘Mr Chainsaw’ and my own personal favourite, ‘This Could Be Love’. The crowd were possibly not as responsive as the band would have liked, as they cracked jokes and tried to get a bit more of a reaction. However, we were the first show on the tour, so the band could possibly have been testing the waters. Whatever it was, it didn’t work and sadly, a lot of the people around me were not having as good as time as they should have been. I don’t attribute this to the band, but to the twelve year old dickheads who didn’t know what the fuck to do. That said, the Trio could have picked a better set list with a few more of the singles. It was actually a reasonably low-key set, as they played a lot of their more mellow material. There was something for everyone though in their 90 minute set, as they finished on classic ‘Radio’. They might have been better off ending on a slightly more high-energy song, but it kept the fans happy and I was definitely surprised and delighted to see it played. It’s plain to see that Alkaline Trio are still kicking and have bounced back spectacularly with latest album, ‘This Addiction’. Here’s hoping that next time they return, we’re all a bit better prepared.

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