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Alkaline Trio - O2 Academy Islington, London - August 29 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 30 August 2013 Written by Huw Baines

If, in the near future, you’re tasked with organising a 10th birthday party, lay aside the balloon animals and hire Alkaline Trio instead. That’s just what the folks at the 02 Academy Islington did, and the whole thing worked out pretty damn well.

The Chicagoans the were first band to play the venue a decade ago, some would argue while at the very height of their powers, and with the party hats laid out they returned to remind everyone just why they’re still kicking all these years later.

With the place packed to the rafters, Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano and Derek Grant flew headfirst into Private Eye, the opening track from ‘From Here To Infirmary’, and provoked the first of many mass shoutalongs in the process.

The set borrowed heavily from their breakthrough record and ‘Goddamnit’, with choice selections from their latest release, ‘My Shame Is True’, getting an airing and an appreciative response.

In a live setting the new material took on the same scuzzy qualities associated with some of Alkaline Trio’s earlier work, with I Wanna Be A Warhol, Young Lovers and notably Torture Doctor sounding particularly fine when cut loose from the record’s precise production.

The real love in the room was reserved for moments when the band wound the clock back though, and the receptions for Cringe, Nose Over Tail, Clavicle and Trucks And Trains left Skiba’s face plastered with a grin. The performance was breathless, with barely a moment’s pause throughout, and in such a fashion Grant and the bullish Andriano really came to the fore.

With a tip of the hat to long-time collaborator Brendan Kelly and the Lawrence Arms’ Porno And Snuff Films during a superb rendition of Crawl and an excellent Dine, Dine My Darling, Andriano played the role of frontman every bit as well as the more outgoing Skiba, with their pairing one that still works this far along the line.

Closing the set with 97, the ‘first song’ in the band’s history, and a welcome, anthemic rendition of Radio from ‘Maybe I’ll Catch Fire’, Alkaline Trio walked from the stage with another tick in the ledger. Here’s to another 10 years.

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