Matt Skiba / Brendan Kelly - live in West Chester (Cover Artwork)

Matt Skiba / Brendan Kelly

live in West Chester (2010)

live show

While it's no secret that Matt Skiba and Brendan Kelly have been friends for a long time, I was kind of surprised to find out the two would be playing an acoustic show together in West Chester, Pa. Having grown up 10 miles away from the Note, I knew catching the men behind the Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio down the street from where I first bought the Vans Warped Tour 2002 compilation was a no-brainer.

Depending on who you were, Brendan Kelly stumbling onto the stage to start the evening sparked an extreme emotion. Most in the audience seemed shocked and had no idea who he was. I, on the other hand, was filled with excitement, knowing the higher BK's blood alcohol content, the more memorable the performance. After opening with the Falcon's "Unicorn Odyssey," he attempted to play "Necrotism," but was plagued with technical issues that lasted around 10 minutes. He filled this time telling stories, ranging from how he was too drunk the previous night to even perform to how he felt obligated to punch the mother of Bam Margera (the owner of the Note), in the face in exchange for playing at his club. Between future Bad Sandwich Chronicle banter topics, checking his set list on his iPhone and guitar wire changes, BK did manage to play some songs, including two new ones. The first he introduced as "The Dance of the Doomed," which the Larry Arms fan behind me laughed, "Of course it is!" The song turned out to be a dark, depressing ballad that would be out of place on a Lawrence Arms, Falcon, or Broadways album. The other new tune didn't have a title, but he said he likes to think of it as a sequel to "The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure," and sounded like it would have fit in on The Greatest Story Ever Told. He closed with a cover of Jawbreaker's "Kiss the Bottle" and "The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure," and encouraged fans to stop by the merch table to buy a "Brendan Kelly isn't someone to be fuckin' with" T-shirt. It was being sold by Tom from the Menzingers, who I joked shouldn't be selling merch when he released the album of the year.

Set list:

  1. Unicorn Oddyssey
  2. Necrotism...
  3. Demons
  4. The Dance of the Doomed
  5. Redness in the West
  6. (new song)
  7. Kiss the Bottle
  8. The Ramblin' Boys of Pleasure

Matt Skiba came out with acoustic guitar in hand, walked up to the mic and proclaimed, "Hey everyone, relax, it's a Sunday. Let's have fun." This greeting/battle cry was well-received, as the crumpled-up set list he pulled out of his pocked was completely done after opener "Good Fucking Bye." Yelled-out song requests were met with excitement by both the crowd and Skiba. "'My Friend Peter'? Yes! This is what this night is about!" smiled Skiba. Brendan came back out to tell a story of how he always misinterprets Alkaline Trio lyrics as completely racist and sexist, followed immediately by "Sorry About That." The interruption was welcomed by Matt and the BK fans, yet many just there to see Matt were getting irritated by his drunken shenanigans. Some highlights of the night included hearing the story behind "Hell Yes" ("It's not a Satanic song, it's a song about one of the original punks") and Matt hinting that he recorded some songs with the Bouncing Souls a few weeks ago. Brendan came back out for more story time, and the chemistry between the two made me think of all the times I've spent nights laughing with my best friends. The only difference, the two pointed out repeatedly, is they get paid to do it. The two performed "Bleeder" and "Mercy Me" together, with Brendan introducing the latter as "a song off an album you all claim to hate but is a great fucking album, so fuck you." Matt closed the night with "Radio," inviting anyone who wanted to sing along onto the stage. As many as could fit gladly accepted, and the crowd sang the closing lines with what little voice we had left.

Set list:
  1. Good Fucking Bye
  2. My Friend Peter
  3. Sorry About That
  4. Hell Yes
  5. Clavicle
  6. Blue in the Face
  7. Cooking Wine
  8. Fuck You, Aurora
  9. Demons Away
  10. Mercy Me (with Brendan Kelly)
  11. Bleeder (with Brendan Kelly)
  12. Emma
  13. Radio
BK: "Unicorn Oddyssey"/"Necrotism..."
BK: "The Dance of the Doomed"/"Redness in the West"
BK: new song/"Kiss the Bottle"
Skiba/BK: "Bleeder"