Written by Samuel Barker
Jul 10, 2005 at 08:00 PM
ImageAt some point, the Alkaline Trio blew up. It doesn’t seem too long ago, late 2000, that I saw these 3 guys wearing black clothes singing poppy songs with dark lyrics opening up for Strung Out at Fitzgerald’s, but now the band was performing two night stands at the Engine Room.While Strung Out has become a nostalgia act for the summer on Warped Tour, The Alkaline Trio has just released a new album, Crimson and finally started touring again now that guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba has been able to avoid any major skateboarding accidents. All healthy and ready to go, the band has been working to promote their new album with a fury.

Making it to the second of two shows here in Houston, we were able to catch what felt like a local show for the band and the audience as songs were screamed out, the set list went way back and the band seemed to be full of energy.

ImageWhile they did rely heavily on Crimson opening with lead track Time to Waste, they spent a good deal of the night reaching back for jewels from their past releases. Surprisingly, a song like My Friend Peter from one of the band’s first seven inches was met with as much sing along as Time to Waste was.

It is this devotion of their fans young and old that show the band has not lost any fans despite the wave of similar groups to suddenly pop up from their wake. The Trio were on the top of their game on this night as Skiba and bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano traded off on lead vocals. Andriano’s singing of Maybe I’ll Catch Fire turned the audience into a choir of voices singing every word.

In a remarkable gesture of how meaningful the band is to their fans, Skiba gave the microphone to a fan who asked his girlfriend out on the stage and proposed to her. As the audience waited for the answer to be spoken into the microphone, it became clear, by means of a kiss and tight embrace, that she indeed said yes. This was just another great moment to go with an already strong night of music.

While the wild drinking and edginess of the band’s stage show is gone, the solid sound and killer set lists make up for the lack of drama…or shall we say, fills it in with desirable drama. The band set the precedent for the poppy punk bands with downer lyrics, and seems set to hold the flag high. Here’s to hoping they keep the sound going for a while.