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Alkaline Trio/Smoking Popes/The Gamits: live in Denverlive in Denver (2011)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)
The last time Alkaline Trio played a headlining show in Denver, it was the night after This Addiction dropped, and it was raining profusely. Flash-forward a year-and-a-half to this night, the eve of the release of their acoustic album, Damnesia. The rain outside refused to quit, so I walked into the.
The last time Alkaline Trio played a headlining show in Denver, it was the night after This Addiction dropped, and it was raining profusely. Flash-forward a year-and-a-half to this night, the eve of the release of their acoustic album, Damnesia. The rain outside refused to quit, so I walked into the venue feeling a bit of déjà vu.
Chicago legends the Smoking Popes were up next, and I was just excited for them as I was for the headliners. I probably listen to the Trio more, but I've seen them so many times I've lost count. This was my first live experience with the Popes, and hopefully it won’t be my last. They played a great mix of new and old with a youthful energy not always seen in bands of their age. It’s always great when you can tell that a band is really enjoying what they do. Matt Skiba joined the band on stage to sing the “ba ba ba da da"s in “Writing a Letter”, and the band dedicated “Megan” to Bayside, as a thank you for covering it, and bringing the band to a new audience.
And with that, it was time for Alkaline Trio. Last time I saw the band, they made a huge dramatic entrance, with fog machines, circus music, and a banner drop. This time they just kind of wandered onto the stage without so much as the lights dimming. I didn't even recognize that it was Dan Andriano onstage, and not some roadie doing one last sound check until he looked up at the crowd and started playing an ominous bass intro. From there, the rest of the band joined him and launched into “In Vein” from everybody’s least favorite Trio record, Agony & Irony. It was a curious choice of opener to say the least, but it got the crowd moving for the first time all night.
After that, it was pretty much all old-school Trio for the next 30 minutes or so. Somewhat surprisingly, tracks collected on the group’s self-titled compilation album featured the most heavily. Other surprises included B-side “Old School Reasons” and Goddamnit’s “San Francisco”. Yet this tour is in support of Damnesia, and as such, the last third or so of the group’s set was composed of acoustic renditions of old favorites like “Clavicle” and “You've Got So Far to Go”, as well as new songs from the record, such as the fun sing-along “Olde English 800” (try not to get it stuck in your head. It’s impossible), and their cover of the Violent Femmes’ classic “I Held Her in My Arms”, for which they were joined by the Smoking Popes. It’s interesting that the band seemed to ignore the “hits”, like “Private Eye”, “This Could Be Love” and “Radio”, even though all three songs make altered appearances on Damnesia.
Alkaline Trio are always worth checking out when they come to town, but with this semi-acoustic tour, they’re offering a unique experience that may not happen again. Don’t miss this one!
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