Waiting outside the venue in Arctic temperatures for almost an hour after the doors were meant to open is not a good start to the night. Unfortunately the night didn’t start well for Alkaline Trio either, having expensive laptops stolen from their dressing rooms which caused the delay at the doors.
Pissed off and cold the opening act didn’t do much to liven up the atmosphere. The ironically named Sunshine were a dreary start to night with no real specific sound to call their own. A mix of emo cross punk riffs and downbeat vocals combined for a forgetful set. Luckily the night picked up from there.
Mike Park was up next armed with an acoustic guitar and a projector screen and provided a change from the usual supports usually seen at these kind of gigs. Mike Park is the man who originally came across Alkaline Trio in Chicago and recognised their obvious potential, but it became apparent that Mr Park’s talents don’t just lie in finding bands. The projector showed images of Park’s childhood heroes and the problems encountered of being an Asian kid in an American High School; these were often humorous but became more thought provoking as he moved onto showing problems of prejudice in his life. The images backed up by funny stories and amazing acoustic songs set the crowd in the right mood for what was to come.
As Alkaline Trio went on stage clad in their customary black it became obvious that the majority of the sold out crowd were people not old enough to drink and were extremely excitable, not a bad thing but when the barrier collapsed at the front it began to get annoying! The sound in the refectory was spot on and the three Chicago punks made full use of it with a long set that sounded clear and full of energy. The new album, Crimson, which has proved a big success was covered comprehensively as well as past cult classics, there were however some glaring omissions for example Stupid Kid.
Highlights of the night were This Could Be Love with Dan Adriano’s unique voice giving real feeling to the song, and the encore with Radio which ended the night on a high. Alkaline Trio are fully capable of making themselves superstars in the same vein as Green Day or Blink, they have more than enough talent and more substance to their lyrics than there pop-punk counterparts and Matt Skiba is a frontman who has star potential in spades.
After such a shit start the night got better with Mike Park and was more than worth the wait by the time Alkaline Trio had finished.