Live Report: Alkaline Trio at the House of Blues – 10/15/2018

It’s another Monday night show for San Diego and so with work and eating dinner, I missed all of Sharp Shock and saw only the tail end of Together PANGEA. Having done some perusing this morning, I’ll check out Together PANGEA on their next go round- they have a nice 60s infused garage punk sound. Sharp Shock plays some solid punk rock.

But, let’s get to the main event. Matt Skiba (bass/vocals), Dan Adriano (guitar/vocals), and Derek Grant (drummer) rocked the sold out show. They played a few new ones off of Is This Thing Cursed? (check out our review): “Is This Thing Cursed?”, “Blackbird,” and “I Can’t Believe,” (and another I may have missed). Then they went into the catalog and played the big hits off the middle year records: “Time To Waste,” “Mercy Me,” and “Calling All Skeletons.” Also, they dove deep into the early years with “Cringe,” “Clavicle” (“Kissing the curve of your CLAVICLE!”), “Madam Me,” and “My Friend Peter.” The featured album seemed to be Good Mourning (2003), which was the album from my last time seeing these guys. Off of it they played the classic “Every Thug Needs a Lady,” “This Could be Love,” and “We’ve Had Enough.” For the encore, the whole crowd at the top of their lungs were singing “Shaking like a dog shitting razor blades” and “I’ve got a big fat fuckin’ bone to pick with you my darling,” timeless lines from their closer “Radio.”

So how was the show? In a word– tight. Rather than a mush of noise, instruments and vocals were clear and intelligible. Skiba’s vocals were crisp and held up to the singing on the albums with his characteristic throaty sound. Adriano’s vocals were solid as well toying with the rhythms of certain songs shortening or extending lyrics as he saw fit seeming to entertain himself in the variations.

The performances were solid as well. With Adriano adorned in a red button-down and a feather sticking out of his fedora, Grant in a drummer suitable light T-shirt, and Skiba wearing a plaid flannel they looked healthy and energetic which surprised me with it being the 3rd to last stop of their two month tour. The crowd had a fervor and passion with most songs sung back to the band in unison. My voice is a bit scratchy today from joining in. Likeminded band and audience led to thrilling crescendos where we all were singing in unified angst.

They are 20 years deep and showing a bit of age on their faces but in the passion that they are playing with and skill for their pop punk sound, they are exhibiting evidence that they’ll be touring and creating for some time to come. When they’re back in San Diego, I’ll be back at their show.

A blurry Dan
Derek and Matt


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