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New York Cool - Music

Alkaline Trio
Roseland Ballroom
October 14, 2008

Written by Matthew Boyd
Photographed by
Amy Davidson

Alkaline Trio filled the Roseland Ballroom with fans as easily as the imposing (frankly huge) vocalist Matt Skiba fills a room. Skiba is still shaking shoulders with the decibels of songs inspired by sobbing heartbreak. Not so boozy as once they were (but much better dressed), the Alkaline Trio - Matt Skiba (vox/guitar), Derek Grant (drums) and Dan Andriano (bass/vox)- still puts on a hell of a show after ten years or so on the road.

Playing an unsurprisingly flawless and high-energy set, beginning with From Here to Infirmary's "Private Eye", and cycling through favorites "Radio," once covered by Alkaline Trio fellow travelers Hot Water Music, they broke out the Goddamnit material to the delight of at least one or two fans who remember seeing them in college rec centers. All this they powered through while tearing through new songs off of 2008's Agony and Irony.

The band's power pop and middle-to-upper-class angst hasn't lost a thing. but cheap mic noise over the years as it has crawled out the back doors of parties and bars into argyle sweater vests and choreographed light shows. We all knew that's where they'd be headed one day anyway- they were never exactly singing about career opportunities. But who can't find some solace in the boozy and comfortable trials of college kids in too deep in drugs or love that make up these Chicago stalwarts' emo oeuvre?

Openers The Gaslight Anthem, with only two records and an EP to their credit (all released in extremely short order, it should be noted), scorched through a Springsteen-esque set of tightly wound, R&B flavored rock to a pack of die-hards the size of which belied the band's just-out-of-the-gate status. The crowd that ended up filling the ballroom to bursting for subsequent acts may have been Jersey in the pejorative sense, but Gaslight did their best to uphold the positive legacy of the long-lived and earnest punk scene in the Garden State, their delivery an homage to the Boss the fidelity of which went right to the early-years Bruce knit cap on singer Brian Fallon's head. A quick listen to their set reveals nods in plenty to scores of other rockers from the past twenty years, but you should really get out there and see them yourself. I'm not going to tell a soul. This band knows their stuff and plays their hearts out, and doles it out with furious panache.

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