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Monday, April 21, 2014

Alkaline Trio, The Murderburgers @ Leeds Metropolitan University, 19/04/2014

Alkaline Trio, The Murderburgers 

Leeds Metropolitan University, 19/04/2014

At the right place, at the right time

Another year and another Alkaline Trio tour - the band sell that many records in the UK that it has become a home from home for them - they have had that much success that (god-forbid) it even creates a surplus for them to class as an income. They’ve made it, and after 9 studio albums they are showing no signs of slowing down.

When they started back in 1996 they were just a three-piece punk-rock band practicing in a garage, in a suburb of Chicago, and who dared to sing love songs  at time when emo wasn’t cool and completely off the map. At the same time, Mike Park, had started running a DIY punk-rock label called Asian Man Records out of his garage in California. This was a match made in heaven.

Asian Man Records released an incredible amount of music in those early days, and unlike some of the more well-known punk-rock labels that only released their mates bands, or bands that already had some success on smaller labels, Mike would put out stuff that he liked, without a care for association or personal affiliation. So after hearing a demo, he takes a chance on these three kids in Chicago, puts out a few of their records and the rest is history.

Despite spending a period on a major label, the band are now putting out records on their own label Heart & Skull, which is a collaboration with Epitaph Records. And despite the glitzy heights of stardom, the band still remain true to their roots, and a few songs into the set, Matt Skiba gives a short intro about Asian Man Records, before the band launch into the opening track of their first album ‘Cringe’. It goes beyond this though…

Asian Man Records have recently released an LP by the Scottish pop-punk band The Murderburgers, which as you may know is a pretty big deal. It happended in a similar way, Mike liked what he heard and put out their record. And knowing that there was an upcoming Alkaline Trio tour and that The Murderburgers were on tour, Mike Park contacts the trio, and they agree to have the Murderburgers along with them as the second support band on their UK tour. This friend is punk rock. What a result, and a decision that pays off immediately as Alkaline Trio bassist Dan Andriano tweets following the first show:

The venue is pretty rammed by the time The Murderburgers take the stage, and they do what any sensible support band should do with a 20 minutes slot, and cram in as many songs as possible – Crammy Hard, as the band might say. Normally the sound for support bands at bigger gigs is shocking, yet tonight it was spot on, and The Murderburgers sounded as good as they have ever done. The happy pop-punk melodies, combined with subtle lyrical undertones highlighting the misery of living in Glasgow, strike a chord with recent converts, such as @Vegetauren. We were even treated to an appearance from Billy Liar, who came out mid song to use a party popper during a breakdown of one of their songs. There are often poorly chosen words to describe bands in these situations, yet on this occasion I think it’s best to say that this is meant to be.  
One of the joys of going to bigger gigs such as this sell out show, is that it provides an exciting bottleneck which often leads to a re-acquaintance with people whom real life interaction hasn’t taken place with for some time. Thankfully for us, some people from the Boston, Lincolnshire scene had made the journey up, and had joined us for a few jars of piss & vinegar in the Dry Dock, prior to the gig. They were on good form once again, and lived up to their reputation of piss-takers, after tactfully taking-down a guy who openly admitted to being thrown out a Limp Bizkit concert for smoking an e-cigarette. My good friend and fellow zinester Marv Gagdie was in attendance, and even though he generally hates the strands of emo and pop punk, he hit the nail on the head when he said “I’d rather choose a shit punk gig than any other type of night out, anyday”.  The oracle has spoken.

Alkaline Trio were in good form once again, and played a mixed set to try and keep everyone happy. Although I only recognised them play two songs from my favourite two albums of theirs, it didn’t matter, as Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano have two of the best voices in punk-rock, and just listening to them sing along to their pop-punk sounds was enough for me.

Mid-way through the set, I noticed that my friend @Lucy_Blu and her friends had somehow managed to get onto the stage balcony that is for backstage people, which is a perfect vantage point for checking out the band; and it’s hard not to agree with them, as they are one of the sexiest bands in middle-aged punk-rock.

Despite the great energy of the show, and the epic crowd sing-alongs, there was a small incident that left a sour taste. Following the brilliant ‘Dine Dine My Darling’, Matt Skiba took exception to one fans reaction to the song, and started to call him out, getting confrontational with them, and proclaiming, ‘this next songs for the rest of you in the crowd’. I think Skiba needs to deal with criticism in a better way than that immature response.

However, lets not let that take away from a magnificent night, and the fact that the popularity of The Murderburgers is on the up, and that Alkaline Trio, who have made great records such as ‘Goddamit’ and ‘This Addiction’, still have the ability to reduce grown men, who really should know better, to adulation and tears.     

© Schwarzbrennen

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