For one brief flickering moment in time, Kentish Town was chock-a-block with the most peculiar gathering of concert goers. A crowd one might expect at The Borderline, tucked away in a back alley, instead flooded Kentish Town High street – all eagerly awaiting Alkaline Trio’s arrival. The Forum played home to the American band and their opening acts – most notably New York City steadfast punk-ish band Bayside.
One would never know that Alkaline Trio was a band whose popularity seemed to peak in the mid 2000’s with the proliferation of the emo/punk scene and its quick demise a few years later. There are of course true followers of the bands within that scene that are worth their weight in musical gold – like Alkaline Trio and Bayside – and by six that evening, the queue was already wrapped around the building with fans donning the unmistakeable Alkaline Trio logo.
Not many of them were prepared for the inimitable sound of Bayside, though. As the 14 year old band took the stage as support, bassist Nick Ghanbarian asked the crowd how many had seen them perform before and barely two dozen hands were raised. Despite that, the band performed an outstanding opening act. Bringing out tried and tested hits like ‘Duality’ and ‘Devotion and Desire’, Bayside managed to cram in the variety of a decade of material into a 45 minute set. While front man Anthony Raneri sounded weary, the rest of the band was in full form, and together the four piece delivered a well rounded show.
As Alkaline Trio prepared to take the stage, The Forum ballooned with the influx of fans. There was no mistaking the crowd’s enthusiasm, and with each word that Alkaline Trio sang the crowd echoed back in ecstasy – the trio are a well oiled machine who perform with passion and professionalism. They know how to address the crowd without sounding arrogant or fake, and they delivered each song with near-album-sounding-precision. They performed a lovely smattering of songs from their years of releases, including favourite ‘Cringe’, from way back in 1998. Despite the years some of their material has, the songs never sounded tired, and Alkaline Trio performed each with much fervour.
The gig flew by with insurmountable energy and drive. Both bands delivered solid sets, though Alkaline Trio’s performance felt more visceral – with impressive but not over the top lights, and impeccable stage presence. It’s obvious that Alkaline Trio’s years of performing have paid off, and while the spontaneity may be lacking slightly, their stunning delivery makes up for it ten fold.
Final verdict? 7/10