Alkaline Trio / Cursive - live in Denver (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Alkaline Trio / Cursive

live in Denver (2010)

live show

Alkaline Trio haven‘t played a headlining show in Colorado in two years. The last time they were here was with the Offspring at the gigantic outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheater, and before that was supporting Rise Against for two nights at the 3,000+ capacity Fillmore Auditorium. So the chance to see them play for more than 45 minutes in a (relatively) small venue was certainly enticing. The fact that they had just released their best album in nearly a decade and were bringing along Nebraska indie rock heroes Cursive only sweetened the deal.

Opening the show on this snowy Thursday night were the Dear and Departed. Their sound would best be described as Jimmy Eat World-style emo rock with some U2-esque guitar work and gothic overtones. The crowd was entirely stationary for the duration of their performance, only politely clapping when they finished songs and cheering when they mentioned the headliner's names and thanked them for bringing them out on tour. The band themselves weren't that much more energetic. I wouldn't recommend checking these guys out unless it's with a great lineup such as this.

After a short set change, the lights dimmed and the real show started. As the intro from 2003's The Ugly Organ started to play, I became 10 times more excited. Sure enough, the band took the stage and launched straight into "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand." The level of passion and conviction the band played with was inspiring. They kept the stage banter minimal and crammed a surprisingly large number of songs into their too-short set. The band hardly ever stopped playing the whole time they were on stage--all the songs segued into one another. The set list mostly consisted of tracks from their three most recent albums, but they did break out "Mothership, Mothership Do You Read Me?" from the Burst & Bloom EP and two songs from 2000's excellent Domestica. The crowd was noticeably mellow for most of their set, however, only really coming alive for "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale" and the closing one-two punch of "Art Is Hard" and "From the Hips."

Set list:

  1. Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand
  2. Dorothy at 40
  3. I Couldn't Love You
  4. Mothership, Mothership, Do You Read Me?
  5. A Red So Deep
  6. Driftwood: A Fairy Tale
  7. Mama, I'm Swollen
  8. The Martyr
  9. Big Bang
  10. Art Is Hard
  11. From the Hips

After a 30-minute set change, and a very high concentration of fog, the lights once again dimmed, a gigantic Heart & Skull banner dropped, some circus music began playing on the PA, and Alkaline Trio took their place on stage with vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba decked out in war paint. The band kicked off the festivities with the title track from their latest offering, This Addiction, which had just been released two days prior. The audience had perhaps downloaded the album in advance, or were just very fast learners, because they sang along to every word of the new songs.

The group's past two albums each had a handful of great songs, but they were undeniably very different than everything that came before, and left some fans of the group's earlier, more punk-leaning material confused. The band smartly chose to stick to the classics, with some songs from the new album sprinkled in, and only one song each from Crimson and Agony & Irony ("Sadie" and "In Vein," respectively, although an early version of "Sadie" had been released on the band's split with One Man Army). One of the night's biggest surprises came at the start of the encore, where the band members switched instruments and performed a cover of the Misfits' classic "Attitude" with drummer Derek Grant on lead vocals and bass, bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano on guitar and Skiba on drums. The band were very tight and didn't miss a beat for the nearly 90 minutes they were on stage.

Both Cursive and Alk3 are at the top of their game in the live department, and this is definitely a tour worth checking out if it comes to your area, even with the mediocre openers. Don't miss out!

Set list:
  1. This Addiction
  2. Armageddon
  3. Emma
  4. Dine, Dine, My Darling
  5. We've Had Enough
  6. Mr. Chainsaw
  7. Dead on the Floor
  8. Fatally Yours
  9. Crawl
  10. Fuck You Aurora
  11. Goodbye Forever
  12. In Vein
  13. Continental
  14. 100 Stories
  15. Sadie
  16. Nose Over Tail
  17. 97
  18. Attitude (Misfits cover)
  19. Blue in the Face (full-band version)
  20. Radio