We waltzed into the Alkaline Trio portion of the Asian Man Records 15th Anniversary Festival with high hopes for the evening -- and we weren't disappointed. But before the show was over, things got a little weird.
Let's begin at the beginning, of course. When we showed up, Kepi Ghoulie was onstage leading the house in chorus after chorus of fun Ramones-inspired punk rock. Sure, Kepi doesn't put on the kind of high-energy show that leaves your jaw on the floor, but he did his part to make sure people were having a great time and getting into the music.
In a strange twist, the Hot Toddies took the stage next. I didn't know a thing about this band -- but I knew all I needed to after the first song. The Hot Toddies are like the Donnas on high doses of morphine...like Tegan and Sara stoned...or maybe like an all-female Weezer on valium. They flash these big sexy smiles while sauntering through surf rock songs, and the first question that pops to mind is "what are these girls selling?" Ah, but since this was a festival of peace, love and camaraderie, I'll leave the Hot Toddies alone and move on to Trio.
Mr. Skiba seemed recovered from his antics from the night before, and it wasn't long before the band was heating up, playing more old stuff than I've ever heard them run through live. They rocked the classics to an enthused crowd (interluding with a newer jam here and there) and ended with back-to-back performances of "Radio" and "97," leaving this audience member as happy as a clam.
Unfortunately, some confusion at the end over a number of large dudes who had jumped onstage ended with Skiba leading the band and the new band members in a chorus of "Two Lips, Two Lungs, One Tongue" by NoMeansNo, crushing what seemed to be the perfect ending into a million tiny pieces. Maybe that's going a little too far...but, at the very least, you can say it was one of the weirder endings to a show I'd ever experienced. Sometimes things get weird with the Trio, but god help me, I still love 'em.
I couldn't find any good videos of the Trio set, so I've posted Skiba's hilariously awkward drunken rant from the Slapstick show in its stead.