When they were just boys with high-pitched voices and a ton more energy and fewer responsibilities, bands like Alkaline Trio and Bayside helped bring pop-punk into the new millennium. In the case of Alkaline Trio, who also just released their eighth studio album, it would seem that the question for them would be about how best to balance the new with the old and how best to represent the old. Or maybe the bands should play whatever the hell they want, however the hell they want because that was exactly how both bands came off last night at House of Blues. After opening with “Hell Yes,” it didn’t take Alkaline Trio long to transport fans to the late 90s with one of their earliest hits, “Clavicle.” Lead singer Matt Skiba crooned, “I wanted to wake up naked next to you/kissing the curve in your clavicle” about as sweetly as one man can to a sweaty, screaming mob, and it was apparent that the band was going to take fans back to the early days and treat them to a night of old favorites. Even still, the band was sure to show fans a little of what they’ve been coming up with lately, with some of the 17 songs in their regular set coming off of the new album; “I’m Only Here to Disappoint” and “The Temptation of St. Anthony” showed that the band hasn’t lost a step, even as this year marks the group’s 17th birthday. “Radio,” a slow, heartfelt ballad from Alkaline Trio’s second album, rounded out the three-song encore and completed the 75-minute set. As Skiba screamed about dogs shitting razor blades (literally) and “the big fat fucking bone” he had to pick with somebody from his past, it was apparent that the band knew exactly how to grow older with the audience, even if it meant sacrificing a little face in the name of putting on a memorable show.
Though they last released Killing Time in 2011, Bayside focused a good portion of their ten-song set around 2005’s self-titled album, playing songs like “Tortures of the Damned,” “Montauk,” and “Dear Tragedy.” The punchy power chord pop never failed to please the crowd that recited most songs, word for word, with singer Anthony Raneri. But the band showed that they still had the chops to get away with all of their old tricks. Drummer Chris Gugleimo never dropped a beat and showed off his technical abilities with tricky drum fills and flair. The whole band fed off of their rabid fans that crowd surfed when they played “Duality” and set the stage for the night’s headliner.