Derek Grant, Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano.
Alkaline Trio

El Corazon

Thursday, July 14

Matt Skiba offered tips on chivalry and bad haircuts, but the singer/guitarist


Alkaline Trio Brought Out the Acoustics During Its 15th Anniversary Tour, Last Night at El Corazon

Derek Grant, Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano.
Alkaline Trio

El Corazon

Thursday, July 14

Matt Skiba offered tips on chivalry and bad haircuts, but the singer/guitarist of Alkaline Trio tried hardest to nail down two points Thursday night at El Corazon. "I'd like to say that playing on tour with the Smoking Popes really is a dream come true," said Skiba, whose blue button-down dress shirt collided with past images of a band adorned in black and tattoos. "I used to go see Green Day open for the Smoking Popes in Illinois. Do you know who Billy Joe Armstrong's favorite band is in the whole world? The Smoking Popes. Do you know who my favorite band is, why I'm here today? The Smoking Popes. Fuck Green Day."

Skiba, along with bassist and vocalist Dan Andriano and drummer Derek Grant, also had nothing but praise to offer the overflowing crowd, who gathered in support of Alkaline Trio's 15th Anniversary Tour.

"If it weren't for you guys, I'd be going postal somewhere. Thank you for still coming to our shows," Skiba said.

The alt-punk rockers seemed more than at home in Seattle, as the crowd managed to almost entirely drown out the speakers--20 feet from the stage might as well been lawn seating at an outdoor amphitheater.

Enthusiastic and upbeat, the band opened with "In Vein" from 2008's Agony and Irony. Fans jumped and screamed from every nook and cranny of the venue, and enough pictures were taken every 10 seconds to create a miniature strobe effect.

"Here we are, Seattle, Washington, otherwise known as 'The Whale's Vagina,'" Skiba joked. "San Diago."

Most modern shows involve a series of big hits and crowd favorites, light chatter from the band members between songs, and an epic final song which culminates into a roaring sea of applause until one or two more songs are played as an encore. That was not Alkaline Trio.

Skiba and Andriano repeatedly played and joked with the crowd, telling stories about their past, joking about their age, and taking a liking to a 10-year-old boy in the crowd with liberty spikes the length of a grown man's arm.

"When I was a kid, I wanted to look like Huey Lewis. I was wrong about that," Skiba joked, while leaning forward off the stage to catch the name of the mystery boy. "My mom actually let me get a mohawk before I could get a mullet. Keegan, this next song is for you."

The band dipped as far back as their first album, 1998's Goddamnit, and played "Clavicle" and "San Francisco," the latter about the band's move from it's hometown of McHenry, Illinois, to "The Golden State."

After roughly 10 songs, the lights went out and the band thanked the crowd, though it was obvious the show was far from over. In support of their eighth studio album, Damnesia, a primarily acoustic album released July 12, the band ended the night with a separate acoustic set.

Alkaline Trio played a new song, "Olde English 800," which Skiba claimed he actually wrote 15 years ago, then brought back out fellow Illinois band Smoking Popes, who'd opened the night, for a two-band acoustic/electric collaboration on the Violent Femmes' "I Held Her in My Arms."

The final song of the night was "97" before the band took a bow and left the stage in a manner less climactic than that of a typical rock show, but a tad more fitting. Alkaline's performance was one of lightheartedness and fun, an appreciation of 15 years of good times and happy memories. It wasn't a goodbye, but a "Thanks a lot."

The mood as Skiba walked back to the microphone thanking the crowd, the guitars already back on their stands, was "We're having too much fun to go anywhere."

Personal Bias: I was a tad disappointed the band didn't dip into their B-sides a bit more, specifically "Jaked on Green Beers," which appeared on the first Atticus: ...Dragging the Lake in 2002.

Best of the Night: Dan Andriano's solo-acoustic performance of "If You Had a Bad Time" was incredibly passionate and whole-hearted. It was one of the best songs I've ever seen performed live.

Overheard in the Crowd: In reference to Skiba: "This guy's a regular stand-up comedian. He's as good at jokes as he is singing."

Set List: (Mostly)

1. In Vein

2. Private Eye

3. Fine Without You

4. Cooking Wine

5. Hating Every Minute

6. Old School Reasons

7. I Lied My Face Off

8. Trouble Breathing

9. San Francisco

10. If You Had A Bad Time (Acoustic), Performed Solo By Dan Andriano

11. Clavicle (Acoustic)

12. Calling All Skeletons (Acoustic)

13. You've Got So Far To Go (Acoustic)

14. Olde English 800 (Acoustic)

15. I Held Her In My Arms (Acoustic), Violent Femmes Cover, With Smoking Popes

16. Crawl

17. '97

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