I can cross another item off my bucket list after seeing Alkaline Trio at Club Nokia Saturday night. (They were #68, right after “design/execute self-portrait out of Skittles” and right before “recreate Casablanca scene-for-scene with all-dog cast.”) While Alkaline Trio’s brand of morbid pop-punk isn’t usually my scene, the combination of their upbeat melodies and grim lyrics caught my ear in my more emotionally overwrought days; Good Mourning in particular kept me company on many a dark and lonely night.

Since then, there’s always been a little corner of my mind filled with upside-down crosses and dead flowers, where “All on Black” plays on a loop and love and mortality are one and the same. It’s not a place I go often, but it’s a place I know well, and Alkaline Trio helped lay the foundation. They knew that place’s skeletons in life.

First up Saturday night was special guest H2O, the friendliest bunch of punk rockers I’ve ever seen. Their high-energy set was just the thing to whet the punk-rock appetites of the young, enthusiastic crowd.


Alkaline Trio was up next, outfitted to my satisfaction in matching Alkaline Trio letterman jackets. (I’m a sucker for alternative high school-themed gear and matching outfits, making this a double-whammy.)


Their set was a who’s-who of their nearly twenty-year catalog, spanning at least a dozen of their albums. The new complemented the old nicely, and vice-versa.


What I’ve always liked about Alkaline Trio is that they have two equally strong and interesting lead vocalists. Matt Skiba might have had  more girls screaming for him, but to me, Dan Andriano was the impressive one — I’ve always like his unusual voice, and it was even better live than on the recordings I’ve listened to hundreds of times.


Next up was New Found Glory, who is touring to promote their new live album, Kill It Live, which is available now. I’ve never been that into NFG, but they proved immensely enjoyable to watch, keeping the crowd hopping for the duration of their lengthy set with one high-energy pop-punk anthem after another. They appeared to be having a great time, and it was contagious; the crowd couldn’t get enough of them.




I’m always reluctant to step out of my classic rock comfort zone, but when all’s said and done, I’m always glad I did.