BY KYLEE MESSNER & DIANCA POTTS Taking the stage of the sold out Troc, Denver trio Single File subjected early show goers to subpar pop rock comprised of catchy cliché backbeats and worn out breakdowns. Would be stand-ins for emo all-stars Saves the Day, Warminster four piece the Traded Series served up a set of energetic anthems, complete with tone deaf vocals, power chords and leftover teenage angst. Prefacing their exit with a bit of self-advertising, the Traded Series’ “Let Go” failed to wow the crowd but managed to stir up a nostalgic throwback to high school basement shows and those long forgotten junior high years.
As headliners Alkaline Trio took the stage, Philly fans took their places on the floor of the Troc, standing star struck and anticipating what was to come. The lights dimmed, the sound check was brief, and Chicago punks Matt Skiba, Derek Grant, and Dan Andriano strolled onto stage ready to rock. Backed by three banners bearing their latest release’s name, the well received Trio leapt into their lengthy set with the tongue-in-cheek fast paced “My Friend Peter” while bromance filled the air. With certainty, Skiba declared Philadelphia as “the best tour date so far,” causing the crowd to cheer in agreement. Good Mourning’s “If We Never Go Inside” incited a shout-a-long from fans with outstretched arms and fists. Crowdsurfing ensued and circle pits cropped up as more tracks from 2003’s Good Mourning like “Fatally Yours” kept fans frenetic. After a bit of onstage banter, thank you’s and updates on the Chicago Bulls, From Here to Infirmary’s “I’m Dying Tomorrow” was later followed by Agony & Irony’s cinematic ballad “I Found A Way.”
Returning to their self titled album, Alk3 enticed the crowd with “Cooking Wine,” while new fans nodded their heads in appreciation to the singing hearts of the old. The night would not have been complete without a dedication from Matt Skiba to an unseen feline named Sadie, the surname to the band’s 2005 release Crimson. Fans’ grins grew wide as the band paid their respects to punk’s forefathers, The Ramones, with a cover of KKK Took My Baby Away. Preaching to a choir of diehards, the band led the crowd into a full out sing-a-long of Good Mourning’s “All On Black.” Taking a dig at the market street Kmart, Skiba questioned fans on the store’s policy of locking up their deodorant, while a large flock of flailing hands shot up into the air to answer the guitarist’s question. After de-arming a few Skiba-proclaimed assholes, the band went on to play “Cringe,” a well-received surprise from the band’s first full-length album Goddamnit in 1998. Counting on the crowd’s knowledge of elementary math skills, Alk3 began to play “This Could Be Love,” while eager hands projected into the air, fingers all pointing to the band’s beloved guitarist.
The band exited stage left, once again thanking Philadelphia’s fans for their enthusiasm. Knowing this could not be the end, the crowd begged for more from their muse, using the Troc’s walls to echo their howls, and stomping their feet in unison, wondering if the band would return before the floor’s wooden boards began to cave. Skipping the route of a return home speech, the band thanked their testosterone driven fans with an encore of two more songs, diving straight into Maybe I’ll Catch Fire’s Radio.
With a final farewell of appreciation, the band took their final bows, the lights returned, and fans poured out of the Troc as quickly as they had come. A handful of hopefuls remained around the edge of the stage, wondering if what they had just experienced was love, or just another well-played Alkaline Trio show.