Alkaline Trio, 2.18.10

Going to this concert was like seeing a group of old friends who had since befriended a bunch of people I wasn’t incredibly keen on. I say “old friends” because Alkaline Trio is a group I listened to religiously in high school, and not so much now; I attended the concert purely for nostalgic reasons. The bandmembers have since matured; Matt Skiba sported an actual Polo brand shirt and Dan Adriano a sleek (metrosexual?) jacket, yet their audience hasn’t changed. They’ve aged, maybe. They’re all still wearing the flannel shirts and the skinny pants and the black eyeliner and the band hoodies and the stringy hair. I stood out like a sore thumb, having just come from work. This is what the fans looked like when I was in high school, and I stood out then, too. But I grew up, and the band grew up. I guess we’ve just left everyone else behind. That part felt pretty good.

The Regency Ballroom did the band no justice. I didn’t make it in time to see the openers, so I can’t say for sure if it was the band’s levels that made it worse, but I will say that you should only attend the Regency if you know the band you’re seeing very well. That way you’ll know the songs and you won’t worry so much about trying to decide if you like them. Complaints aside, the venue is beautiful, even if it isn’t meant to rock. It’s got all this crazy-intricate moulding on the vaulted ceilings, and it just seems like it was an all-around badass place to party back in the day. The Trio certainly made it a party when they took the stage, anyway.

I’ve never been partial to emo music, but the Trio always held a special place in my heart. I love how their music is a constant wall of sound. No staccato. No silence. For a choppy genre, they’ve always been exceptionally smooth. And yes, they’ve gotten more mainstream and sold out and whatever, but their sound has improved along with it. They played a few of their new songs, which I didn’t care too much about, but they didn’t forget about their old stuff, either. San Francisco is one of their many homes, and we welcomed old renditions of Armageddon, 97, and San Francisco (the better of the encores, one being the cliche Radio). I was also stoked to hear my personal favorite, Crawl. Adriano’s voice is as beautiful (and underrated) as ever. It’s a pity that the venue made it impossible to hear it on that one and on Emma, both of which showcase his pipes perfectly. In any case, I’m glad I went. Same time in six years, okay guys?

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