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Alkaline Trio / Test Icicles / Mike Park

Alkaline Trio / Test Icicles / Mike Park: live in Londonlive in London (2005)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: joeJoe
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Initially, I was reluctant to go to this show -- not because I'm not a fan of the Trio, simply because I'd seen them twice already this year and didn't want overkill to set in. Eventually however, my friend convinced me, and as I hadn't seen them at the 4000-capacity Brixton Academy before, I caved..


Initially, I was reluctant to go to this show -- not because I'm not a fan of the Trio, simply because I'd seen them twice already this year and didn't want overkill to set in. Eventually however, my friend convinced me, and as I hadn't seen them at the 4000-capacity Brixton Academy before, I caved.

Sunshine, a Czechoslovakian band and favourites of Dan Andriano, opened the show to a very thin crowd of early arrivals and seemed lost in a space of that size. Musically, they're not bad, peddling a Hives / Hot Hot Heat-esque brand of dance-punk (or whatever it's called these days), but not many people's attention is really held. Once they finished I got myself a beer and prepared to see for the first time the man who pretty much gave tonight's headliners an opportunity.

Mike Park generally evokes something of a mixed reaction. Some admire his message and his music, while others believe him to be too preachy. I personally am a big fan of the bands he fronted, especially Skankin Pickle, but hadn't heard much of his solo stuff. He came out with a little screen (put onto a chair, it's that fucking small) depicting images that he feels we should take notice of. It took a few songs to get used to his music, must of which were culled from the recent North Hangook Falling. Only when he finally turned to face the crowd and told the backstory to "I'm in Love With a Girl Named Spike" did he get people's attention. I was taken aback at how good a fast ska-punk song sounded when done acoustically, and the very few Pickle fans in attendance had a good old sing-along. He also explained his affinity for Alkaline Trio -- so much so that he was ordained just so he could preside over Matt Skiba's wedding -- which provoked Skiba to come out and give his former employer a hug. It was undoubtedly cheesy as all hell, but it was also cool to see how much Alkaline Trio appreciate his help, and once he departed the stage most people were applauding and asking for more.

The mood changed drastically though once Test Icicles, a much-hyped band in the U.K., took to the stage. It's fair to say that they don't fit in at all well on a bill such as this one, but the reaction they recieved was pretty much negative all around. Admittedly, their music, which if I had to describe would be Blood Brothers-ish only with a drum machine, isn't my cup of tea particularly, but only a couple of songs into their set people start heckling them. One of the singers incited the crowd by playing the opening chords to Nirvana's "Rape Me" and then saying "Oh shit, I though we were on MTV," or something to that effect. The band perservered on and made occasional additional comments before finally departing, with the crowd singing the old British terrace anthem of "You're shit and you know you are." The truth is, they are by no means shit, but their appearance on the bill was somewhat mystifing. It was a bizarre scenario to say the least, but I imagine Test Icicles will shrug it off and carry on.

I have neglected to mention that the sound hadn't been all that good so far, but it only reared its head fully when the Alkaline Trio started playing. They opened with "Back to Hell," "We've Had Enough," and "Maybe I'll Catch Fire," but it was difficult to make the songs out until one of them started singing, and frustratingly, this was the case for most of their set. The snare drum was surprisingly barely audible and took something away from the sight of Derek Grant, who is a very good drummer to watch. It did have a significant effect on the show and while they did wheel out some older stuff -- "I Lied My Face Off," "Cringe," and "She Took Him to the Lake" were great to hear live for the first time -- they don't have quite the effect that they should've, which I thought was really a shame.

The Trio are a decent live band and execute the songs flawlessly, but they were severly hampered tonight, and what should be one of their biggest and best headlining shows to date, especially in the U.K., turned out to be a little bit underwhelming. Songs they also played included "Deathbed," "Armageddon," "Mercy Me," "Burn," "The Poison," "Sadie," "Time to Waste," "This Could Be Love," and "Private Eye," and they closed with "Radio," which turned out to be the highlight of their set.

Simply the case of a good and talented band getting ruined by an awful PA.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mr_ian (November 24, 2005)

Nice review, i remember being confused when i saw that test Icicles were on the bill, shame they got heckled though they're not too bad. I saw the trio in Glasgow the other night and this was the setlist, probably much the same as the one for this show
back to hell, we've had enough, maybe i'll catch fire, mercy me, private eye, clavicle, I lied my face off, burn, the poison, dethbed, she took him to the lake, sadie, settle for satin, fatally yours, I was a prayer, armagedon, this could be love. encore: time to waste and radio. Not a bad set and better than last time they played glasgow.

Anonymous (November 23, 2005)

Sunshine did a split ep with At the Drive-In about a thousand years ago

Anonymous (November 23, 2005)

Fuck Alkaline Trio, I wanna listen to Led Zeppelin

Anonymous (November 23, 2005)

saw this in Glasgow and there was the exact same problem with songs being almost unrecognisable until the vocals started. they aren't very exciting to watch and Matt and Dan could do with a bit more crowd interactions.

joeg (November 22, 2005)

"sexist/racist beliefs??? hahaha, unbelievable.... seriously, do you know anything about this guy, or do idiots like you just enjoy dropping nonsensical bullshit on people?"

i was being sarcastic. i'm referring to the same jackhole who posts angry comments on every mike park review for the reasons he/she already enumerated here. apparently mike park is guilty of being a racist/sexist because he signed a christian band to his label. and we all know how them christians can be.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

sexist/racist beliefs??? hahaha, unbelievable.... seriously, do you know anything about this guy, or do idiots like you just enjoy dropping nonsensical bullshit on people?

joeg (November 22, 2005)

"This has been discussed a million times before on this board. But I'll start it again anyway: Mike Park sucks as a live performer. HE'S JUST BORING, PERIOD. I don't care what his politics are are what a nice guy he might be. His acoustic schtick is boring-ass shit. And his earlier "ska" bands were trite poo as well. Park wouldn't even be on these bills were it not for his status as a label honcho. Without his Asian Man history, Park couldn't fill a 10' x 10' coffee house. And rightly so. Park should play at open mic nights, and therefore nobody would have to listen to his SHITE.

Memo to Mike Park" quit trying to perform (you suck at it) and concentrate on releasing something decent on your oldies label."

yea, we get it. mike park is worthless. i'm surprised you didn't mention anything about his sexist/racist christian beliefs.

darkstarm (November 22, 2005)

i'm still pissed that alkaline is playing all these great old songs, and they last time they headlined chicago they played two songs off of goddamit, two off of micf, and none off of from here to infirmary.

she took him to the lake? fucking awesome!

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

thought alkaline trio were great until the last 2 albums which have just slowed down and gone all poppy. not a punk band anymore. the split cd they did wsn't much cop either

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

I would pay money to see mike park fuck some shit up with a baseball bat,and scream some shit.

skaboom (November 22, 2005)

People do sometimes praise Mike Park's music not because they particularly like it, but because he is an awesome guy. You ever thought that maybe it's just part of his image? Some bands get up on stage and call their fans motherfuckers and verbally assault them for not moshing every second of every song. Mike gets on stage, plays his brand of socially conscious pop/rock, and then afterwards hes just some regular dude who is out there trying to have a good time like everyone else. Some people appreciate him for that.

It's called a "show" for a reason. It's not just a "concert", you don't go just for the music, you go for the whole experience of seeing your favorite artist do whatever it is he/she/they do. This is what Mike Park does.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

"They are an awesome band, though. It's a pity UK bands like them and Bring Me the Horizon get loads of grief because people mistake them for poser scenesters - when really they're quality bands who just happen to have a lot of fans who are poser scenesters."

ha ha ha ha, Bring me the Horizon are the biggest scenesters ever!!!! jeans so tight that they're balls have exploded.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

This has been discussed a million times before on this board. But I'll start it again anyway: Mike Park sucks as a live performer. HE'S JUST BORING, PERIOD. I don't care what his politics are are what a nice guy he might be. His acoustic schtick is boring-ass shit. And his earlier "ska" bands were trite poo as well. Park wouldn't even be on these bills were it not for his status as a label honcho. Without his Asian Man history, Park couldn't fill a 10' x 10' coffee house. And rightly so. Park should play at open mic nights, and therefore nobody would have to listen to his SHITE.

Memo to Mike Park" quit trying to perform (you suck at it) and concentrate on releasing something decent on your oldies label.

Marlon (November 22, 2005)

"Nobody cares about your dorkus eastern-European history lesson."

Yeah, dude haven't you heard? Punk News is all about being uncultured swine.

sickboi (November 22, 2005)

"Sunshine can't be a Czechoslovakian band, because Czechoslovakia hasn't existed for 15 years. They are a Czech band. If they were from, say, Bratislava, they would be Slovakian."

Nobody cares about your dorkus eastern-European history lesson.

jamespastepunk (November 22, 2005)

Ah, I'd love to see "She Took Him to the Lake". Perhaps some other time.

foaming_97 (November 22, 2005)

sounds like an awesome set list.
Another thing, i agree with you on the PA. When i saw them over the summer ( with Death By Stereo ) i didn't know what i was hearing until i heard him start singing. Also if you watched the video on like, i think Conan Obrien, the guitar is as low as shit. They're my favorite band but that low guitar is fucking shit up on their live show

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

she took him to the lake.
nice.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

the alkaline trio always seem to have problem like that. last time i saw them the power went out three times during their set. still a good show though.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

Mike Park should have done his own tour with Kevin Seconds, just like what was originally planned.

Mike Park's accountant says otherwise

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

fucking CRINGE. i haven't seen alk3 play cringe since 2002.
she took him to the lake too? damn thats some good shit

maybe if they realized this was their best stuff they'd stop putting out god awful crap like they have been.

Crookedsuperhero (November 22, 2005)

Mike Park should have done his own tour with Kevin Seconds, just like what was originally planned.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

Test Icicles is a stupid band name, as any member of the band will freely admit.

They are an awesome band, though. It's a pity UK bands like them and Bring Me the Horizon get loads of grief because people mistake them for poser scenesters - when really they're quality bands who just happen to have a lot of fans who are poser scenesters.

jheisel (November 22, 2005)

Sunshine can't be a Czechoslovakian band, because Czechoslovakia hasn't existed for 15 years. They are a Czech band. If they were from, say, Bratislava, they would be Slovakian.

localh (November 22, 2005)

Alkaline trio sucks and test icicles is a stupid band name

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

Sounds like a great set list.

Anonymous (November 22, 2005)

Good fucking god, when will mike park quit it with the nice guy routine? can't he beat up an old lady or something?

tristan (November 22, 2005)

naturally, that one came up properly. n/m

tristan (November 22, 2005)

Test Icicles are hilarious and awesome. But I could've sworn they had a drummer. In other news, I haven't selected "post anonymously," but all of my recent posts have been anonymous. What gives?

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