New Found Glory / Alkaline Trio / H2O - live in Pittsburgh (Cover Artwork)

New Found Glory / Alkaline Trio / H2O

live in Pittsburgh (2013)

live show

This year's Rockstar Energy Drink tour is an interesting lineup: a co-headlining outing between New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio with openers H2O. I found it interesting because at the turn of the century, the lineup could have easily been flipped around, with H2O headlining (they were on MCA supporting Go at that point), Alkaline Trio as direct support, and A New Found Glory as the freshmen openers. Times have changed, each band has joined and departed major labels and found a home back on independents, and November 14, 2013 found them playing a corporation-sponsored tour at a corporation-owned venue in Pittsburgh, Stage AE, owned by none other than retail outfit American Eagle.

The large venue was impressively filled with a strangely diverse crowd: grizzled hardcore kids mingled next to pop-punk high schoolers and normal-looking parents shared the smoke-filled air with awkward social outcasts. The smoke was largely ironic as it cut through the air during H2O, who charged out onto the stage to a pre-recorded sample that mixed Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" with Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." The band immediately kicked into the anthem "Family Tree." They then breezed through their usual hits from 2008's Nothing To Prove and 1999's F.T.T.W., but unexpectedly threw in "Role Model," the sole single from Go. Between songs, frontman Toby Morse waxed nostalgic about the positive relationship between the band and Pittsburgh, and talked about being offered the opportunity to open this tour and not turning it down. The humble approach by Morse was very refreshing and a nice thing to hear. The band later kicked into a jam of "Walking On The Moon" by The Police, sung by guitarist Rusty Pistachio, which lead into the band's closing number, "What Happened." As expected, Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba walked out to the side microphone and contributed his guest spot on the song's bridge.

Alkaline Trio was part of my "punk rock starter kit" I was given when I was 14. I'm now 26 and this is the first time I've seen the band. Having heard some iffy things about volatile live shows by the Trio and associated bands, I wasn't sure what to expect. About a half hour after the end of H2O's set, Alkaline Trio took to the stage, which was sparsely lit except for a trio of candles atop Matt Skiba's guitar cabinets. Donning varsity jackets, they quickly started their 18-song set with the opening song from Goddamnit, "Cringe." Both Skiba and bassist Dan Andriano had little to say in between songs, opting to drive through the 18-song set with no filler at all. While the addition of pre-recorded samples being played through the PA during select songs was a pleasant surprise, the band didn't sound so great due to the mix in the venue, which was nothing but drums. This didn't seem to deter the crowd as everyone was singing along to the entire set. Closing with "My Friend Peter" launched the crowd into a frenzy and was an impressive way to end the set.

After Alkaline Trio's equipment was taken down, New Found Glory didn't make the crowd wait long before being shot out of a cannon and hitting the stage with an unmatched energy, even in the band's 16th year of existence. Vocalist Jordan Pundik interacted with the crowd, who were still pumped up from Alkaline Trio's set. The band's set was filled with a light atmosphere and plenty of entertaining banter from Pundik and Chad Gilbert, the latter of which joked about playing at an American Eagle-owned venue when they "only want to play at Wet Seal venues." The entire band traversed the stage, including Pundik who serenaded a pair of security guards standing on the side of the stage. Around the halfway of the band's extensive set, Gilbert talked at length about the band's devoted fanbase that bought their early albums on physical formats in actual record stores on the day it came out. At the end of his speech, he told every new fan in attendance to give $5 to an old fan for their troubles.

The band played two songs from the extensive catalog of cover songs: Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" and Sixpence None The Richer's "Kiss Me," which was endearingly dedicated to Freddie Prinze, Jr. The band were also joined by Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano during "Forget My Name", which ended with Skiba being carried around on Chad Gilbert's back, keeping up with the fun atmosphere the band offered up during their set. After wrapping up their set with the single "My Friends Over You," the band returned to the stage for a brief two-song encore to end the night.

Family Tree
Nothing To Prove
Still Here
Role Model
One Life One Chance
Five Year Plan
Guilty By Association
What Happened

Take Lots With Alcohol
I Found Away
I Wanna Be A Warhol
My Standard Break From Life
Kiss You To Death
Time To Waste
Queen Of Pain
Every Thug Needs A Lady
Calling All Skeletons
Dead And Broken
I Lied My Face Off
Another Innocent Girl
This Could Be Love
My Friend Peter

All Downhill From Here
Don't Let Her Pull You Down
It's Not Your Fault
Truck Stop Blues
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
Connect The Dots
Hit Or Miss
Listen To Your Friends
Anthem For The Unwanted
Failure's Not Flattering
Dressed To Kill
Kiss Me
Forget My Name
Truth Of My Youth
Hold My Hand
My Friends Over You
The Story So Far