Strolling through downtown Cleveland on a warm Tuesday night (5.28.13) there was plenty of black clothing and tattoos all around. Hundreds of people gathered to watch two long-time punk rock bands take the stage at House of Blues.
The lights dimmed as The Cure played in the background while a sold out venue anxiously waited for the legendary punk rock trio, Alkaline Trio to perform. I was standing in the front row, sandwiched in between a drunken middle aged woman and a teen couple that left me wondering if they were even old enough to be alive when Alkaline Trio formed in 1996. Cheers filled the house as front man Matt Skiba, dressed in all black, took the stage. The Trio kicked off their set with “Hell Yes,” which reassured the older fans that they haven’t let go of their roots. Of the 20 songs the Trio played, only a handful were selected from their newest album ‘My Shame is True,’ which was released on April 2. As it usually goes for punk rock shows, fans preferred older tunes over the newer ones. However, that didn’t stop the crowd from singing along to the newest hits “I Wanna Be A Warhol” and “The Temptation of St. Anthony.”
After their 17 song regular set, Skiba thanked the crowd and walked off stage, leaving fans waiting wide-eyed for an encore. Upon retaking the stage, Skiba let the crowd decide the next song by asking if they would rather hear “97” or “My Friend Peter.” It was a close call, but “My Friend Peter” took the gold, and the crowd went wild for it. I have seen Alkaline Trio over a dozen times, so it was no shock or disappointment that the Trio ended the night with the classic favorite “Radio,” from the bands 2000 album ‘Maybe I’ll Catch Fire,’ a song the Trio is known for playing at almost every show.
Powerful pop-punk band Bayside kept the mood alive by playing mostly older hits such as “Dear Tragedy” and “Tortures of the Damned,” both songs from the band’s 2005 self-titled album. Mixed in were a couple of songs from the 2011 album, ‘Killing Time,’ but what really caught the crowd’s attention was when the band played the known favorite, “Duality,” off of the 2007 album, ‘The Walking Wounded.’ Lead singer and guitarist Anthony Raneri made it a point to thank the dedicated few that took to crowd surfing during their set and exited the stage, leaving the crowd pumped up and ready for the headlining act.