Alkaline Trio Delivers a High-Energy Set at the Agora Theatre

click to enlarge Alkaline Trio Delivers a High-Energy Set at the Agora Theatre
Amber Patrick
Alkaline Trio is the kind of band whose live show reflects just how long they have been doing it, and last night’s show at the Agora Theatre was no exception. With the high-energy performance, the punk rock trio proved that you’re never too old to be angst-ridden.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

Alkaline Trio has been around for 20 years and its fine-tuned live show made it clear that they know what they’re doing. Every riff and drum hit was perfectly timed. Every audience interaction from singer-guitarist Matt Skiba and singer-bassist Dan Andriano was well-tested but simultaneously natural.

The show included little banter, only one guitar change from Skiba and none for Andriano. The concert also flowed perfectly. The band set a pattern of playing a couple old sing-alongs and then inserted a new track off its forthcoming album, Is This Thing Cursed?

The rhythm of the show, however, couldn’t disguise the fact that the majority of the band’s songs follow the same obvious formula.

The trio opened with “We’ve Had Enough,” an upbeat track to which the fans in the packed theater sang every word. From the first song, it was evident why the band has two lead singers. Andriano’s deeper vocals provided the perfect contrast to Skiba’s higher ones.

“I Lied to the F.B.I” translated perfectly to the live show. It was catchy and fast-paced, and the lyrics were simple enough to hear over the heavy music.

“I Wanna Be a Warhol” was another highlight. The 2013 track chronicles the need for attention from a certain special lady. Some of the band’s best string work was displayed here.

Mid-show, the backdrop of the band’s logo gave way to the album cover for Is This Thing Cursed?, and the trio launched into an energetic rendition of the first single off the forthcoming album, “Blackbird.”

The best part of the track was a guitar solo leading into the bridge.

“You guys like our new backdrop?” Skiba asked the crowd. “We just got it today. Just for you guys. No one else.”

When the band played the just-released title track from the new album, fans were already singing along. It started out with an emotional vocal laid over a slow, toned-down instrumental. The intro was a welcome change. After the first verse, the band returned to its usual full-band rock ’n’ roll production.

Though the band is getting older, the guys didn’t show it onstage. Both Andriano and Skiba brought full energy to the hour-and-a-half set. The band’s age only truly showed when they sipped water instead of beer onstage.

The trio attracted an audience of all ages with more tattoos than an ink convention. The younger generation crowd-surfaced and moshed, while the older Alkaline fans hung back on the tiered standing room only section.

The catchy, quirky “Mercy Me” was played much to the delight of longtime fans of the band. The upbeat music contrasted the depressing lyrics for a fiercely cool result.

“Clavicle” had the same result. This one was far more optimistic, however, with traces of a non-jaded, hopeful song about the beginnings of love.

The band closed with “This Could Be Love,” the most haunting, minor-key heavy track on the whole set list. The band sped up the song for the stage a bit, however, and ended on a high note.

“Aww shucks,” said Skiba in response to the overwhelming noise as he walked back onstage for the encore. Pausing for continued crowd appreciation, Skiba added, “I forgot to play three songs.”

“Warbrain” sounded close-to-record quality as the boys led the crowd in a sing-along.

The softer but equally intriguing “Radio” was the last we heard from the trio. And it was the perfect bittersweet ending to the massive display of melancholy stories told.

Openers Together PANGEA came prepared for a mid-size rock show. They banged out an impressive set that fit perfectly with Alkaline Trio’s vibe. Ogikubo Station, the group that played first, was just another forgettable indie band.
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