Alkaline Trio / the Lawrence Arms

Alkaline Trio / the Lawrence Arms: live in Portlandlive in Portland (2006)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

I loathe show reviews that just do nothing but say how amazing every band was, and how spectacular the show was, and, by default, get four stars just because they played your favorite songs. Unfortunately, this is going to be one of those reviews, because this will probably be the best show I see al.

I loathe show reviews that just do nothing but say how amazing every band was, and how spectacular the show was, and, by default, get four stars just because they played your favorite songs. Unfortunately, this is going to be one of those reviews, because this will probably be the best show I see all year. Two of my favorite bands touring together with the ex-members of another amazing act? It's bound to be a good time.

The Draft was the band that I was very eager to hear; I generally avoid myspace demos, so going in I was relatively oblivious to what they sound like, except they're the spawn of the dearly departet Hot Water Music. Well, for the HWM fans, the Draft seem to be picking up right where The New What Next left off, with perhaps a bit more melody. The songs had the classic HWM vibe of 'sounding the same yet radically different,' managing to get a crowd who had never heard any material before into circle pits and crowd-surfing within a couple songs. Their set was a generous 8 or 9 songs, none of which I caught the names of due to slurred speech between gulps of beer by Chris. By the end of their set, I could tell that so long as the album pulls off the energy the band had on stage, it would be pretty high up on my year-end lists.

I'm not going to lie and say that the Lawrence Arms aren't one of my favorite bands out there. I had a couple drinks and got promptly to the front of the crowd, where the boys appeared after an intro of "Armpit Vagina." Brendan was as energetic as ever, but Chris looked like he had been making up for a lack of sleep with a little too much to drink. The set was long and blistering with energy so long as Brendan was singing, but I couldn't help but get the feeling Chris didn't want to be there. Maybe I just haven't seen the band enough, but he seemed like he was having an off night. I will say that their set list this time around wasn't the best of choices. The last time I saw the Arms, their set list was peppered with sing-alongs from their entire catalogue. I know that they're supporting the new record, but I was hoping for more older material. Half the 14-song set list was dedicated to Oh! Calcutta!, including the first time they'd played "Lose Your Illusion 1" live and the incredible closer of "Like a Record Player." Other songs through the set were "Nebraska" (by request, sort of a downer), "Turnstiles," "On with the Show," "100 Resolutions," "Porno and Snuff Films," "Necrotism..." and "Presenting: The Dancing Machine..."

Alkaline Trio's set has been reviewed quite a bit throughout this tour, so I won't go into every amazing detail, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say Matt Skiba and the boys had found God. They were just as energetic and fun as the last time around, a welcome change from the past few years where shows had almost become standard. Dan's vocals on the full band version of "Enjoy Your Day" and the captivating "I Lied My Face Off" sounded like he wrote the song yesterday; he flailed in front of the microphone and screamed as if he had just gotten his heart broken. While Portland didn't get "Old School Reasons," it was a great latter-half of the set with only five Vagrant-era songs ("Private Eye," "I'm Dying Tomorrow," "This Could Be Love," "Burn," "Deathbed"). Matt did "Blue in the Face" during the acoustic set and Dan played a song I had never heard (perhaps a new one) titled "Barry" acoustic along with "My Standard Break from Life." The rest of the set was from the good ol' days, a true hats off to the fans who had been there all along.

Truth be told, Alkaline Trio can be done now. They could never record another song, they could not tour again, and I'd be content. If they do record again, tour again, I'll continue to support them because it's this kind of effort that makes you realize why you love a band to begin with. The age difference between the youngest fans and the oldest fans at this show was amazing; it shows what kind of staying power this band has, and what influence they've had. I just hope Green Day does something similar one of these days.

As for the rest of the show, the bands were fun as hell, the venue was smaller than I expected making the setting that much better, and the drinks were relatively cheap. Being perfectly honest, the Larry Arms were probably the worst part of the show (music-wise) due to set list choices and Chris's demeanor being relatively uninviting, but that didn't stop any of us in the crowd from having a grand old time. The only thing I can really complain about were the teenage girls. I'm sorry, ladies, but even when I liked you in high school, you were still annoying. Now that I'm older and wiser, you're all just a pain in the ass. Nothing kills an awesome mood like being up front and having a group of five-footers next to you complain about being pushed around so much. I've never been to a show where I haven't been hit or kicked at least once, but who knows, maybe they'll learn.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - Cocktails And DreamsAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityNirvana - MTV Unplugged in New YorkWeezer - PinkertonThursday - Full CollapseAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAlkaline Trio - Goddamnit

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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.
Zackass (June 8, 2006)

You definitely haven't seen the Lawrence Arms enough because that sounds about how Chris is every show. It's all about Brendan and it's awesome every time.

jumptheshark (June 8, 2006)

When I saw the Lawrence Arms back in March in Madison, they were amazing, Chris was definitely into it, and they played about four songs from Oh Calcutta ("Devil's Takin Names" "Are you there Margaret..." "Like a Record Player(last)" and one other one). The whole show was requests and it was a tiny little $8 venue. Amazing show

colin (June 8, 2006)

sounds good. dunno when the next real good show is coming up. my friends band brutal fight is playing saturday at the loveland if you wanna stop by.

ElVaquero (June 7, 2006)

Yeah, I was at this show too colin, let's hang out at the next awesome show haha.

Having seen the Larry Arms once before (with Lagwagon earlier in the year [and hopefully again with lagwagon in the fall!]), and having seen almost all of my favorite songs at that show, i was quite happy with the selection of the larry arms songs from Oh!Calcutta!, every song I wanted to hear off the new album was played, even "Lose Your Illusion" as you said. I really loved it just for that.

It was incredible to see The Draft since I never even got to see HWM (I grew up in the country). Did you get one of The Draft's waffles? Apparently Chris' cousin or something had a birthday and so they made chocolate covered waffles and came to the show giving them to people who bought merch (I got a zip-up, woohoo!). I was really high so they were delicious.

As for Trio, it was great to finally see them at the perfect opportunity (opening up with the entirety of their best album? awesome). I kinda wished they had more b-sides and I definitely missed "Old School Reasons," my favorite song of theirs. And yes, the crowd was awful. All those fat little 14 year old girls with their hot topic makeup and all the little 10 year olds pissed me off. The Crystal is a terrible fucking venue.

Scruffy (June 7, 2006)

Look at me. I'm Colin. I saw 3 freaking awesome shows last week.
Haha. Just giving you a hard time, Colin.

Anonymous (June 7, 2006)

So I just saw this tour and I was slightly disappointed by TLA, I really wanted to hear "On With The Show" but didn't get my wish. But they still rocked hard and I love em.

As for the the Alkaline Trio go, the show was absolutely amazing... until they started playing new stuff and quickly lost my interest. While I do actually own and enjoy the newer albums, their old stuff just kicks soo much ass its hard to compete. It's a shame the band's first full length is their best album to date. Hearing Goddammit in its entirity was like a spiritual experience, and is the Alkaline Trio show I've been waiting for since I first started listening in 1999. And to that end, I agree with the reviewer, they should just quit now, because no tour they ever do will top this one.

If they can drop the whole "satanic" imagery thing and go back to writing heartfelt songs (Dan still writes these, but Matt doesn't) I'd look forward to a new album. Otherwise, Matt and company should take a bit of their own advice and just kill themselves.

SalsaShark (June 7, 2006)

David Arquette's list rules. I can't wait to see "Are You There, Margaret? It's Me, God" live.

mbenson (June 6, 2006)

do they ever play quincentuple your money?
thats my favorite one of their songs

david_arquette (June 6, 2006)

AZ show:

The Northside, the L&L and Any Number of Crappy Apartments
Porno and Snuff Films
Boatless Booze Cruise Part 1
The First Eviction Notice
100 Resolutions
A Boring Story
A Toast
The Devil's Takin' Names
Cut it Up
Great Lakes/Great Escapes
Are You There, Margaret? It's Me, God.
Lose Your Illusion 1
Key to the City
Like a Record Player
On with the Show
The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

the song Dan did is called "Buried" not "Barry", its a b-side to the Mercy Me single...he also did it on June 4th in Anaheim

MedioCore (June 6, 2006)

"Come on guys, mix it up, you don't have to play Porno and snuff films and 100 Resolutions EVERY fucking show."

The 2nd L.A. show (6/3/06) didn't get either one of those... but we did get "A Toast," which was fucking cool.

They also played (not in order):

The Devil's Taking Names (opening song)
Cut It Up
Great Lakes/Great Escapes
Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God
Lose Your Illusion 1
Like a Record Player (closing song)
The First Eviction Notice
Brick Wall Views
Alert the Audience!

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

"Dan's vocals on the full band version of "Enjoy Your Day" and the captivating "I Lied My Face Off" sounded like he wrote the song yesterday."

It's a good thing he didn't write them yesterday, because then they wouldn't be any good.

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

The Lawrence arms are one of the best punk bands in recent years. It's a pity that they've fallen into the trap of playing the same fucking songs every night. Come on guys, mix it up, you don't have to play Porno and snuff films and 100 Resolutions EVERY fucking show.

grantino (June 6, 2006)

i thought the lawrence arms did better in portland than they did the night before in seattle. i requested lose your illusion 1 when i saw brendan standing on the street and he said they hadnt played it in awhile but they would try, which i thought they pulled it off just nicely. basically this show was fucking awesome.

it was funny because they entered during the armpit vagina song in seattle as well and when they came on stage they kind of looked at each other in a very odd way. its a fun song to do the robot to.

damnitsderek (June 6, 2006)

Bah, always forget to log in.

damnitsderek (June 6, 2006)

Bah, always forget to log in.

damnitsderek (June 6, 2006)

Bah, always forget to log in.

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

Your review was better than mine anyway. I got a lot of shit for assuming that TLA's opener was Hesitation Station; I wasn't listening a lot ot the opening because I was trying to make my way towards the front/middle of the crowd. That and the fact that I thought Queen of Pain was a HWM cover..no excuses for me. But good review, I liked it.

sharksss (June 6, 2006)

there have been so many reviews for this tour lately, yet every time i see a new one i check it out and am pleasently suprised!

colin (June 6, 2006)

for the record, i wrote this before the review of the seattle show was posted. so nobody jump down my throat for that please. plus i'm sick, my throat already hurts enough.

aubin (June 6, 2006)

This tour has been so great; the Lawrence Arms are loads of fun, and Alkaline Trio's set was packed with good songs from all their releases, not just Goddamit and the full lengths.

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