Concert Review

Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory, and H2O prove to be triple threat at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE

If one wanted to learn a bit about the History of Punk 101, a great start would have been a stop in Pittsburgh at Stage AE on Nov. 14, 2013 for a bit of schooling.  While not having the deep roots of their predecessors Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Seven Seconds, and the like, three bands from the era of punk from the mid 1990’s that began the resurgence of the sound that makes what The Warped Tour is what it has become today, all converged on The Steel City.  With the variance of their sound and take on the punk style, a real education could be retained from the mid life of punk as we know it today.  It was a refreshing reminder of how great this music is and how much of an impact it has had and continues to have on musicians in many genres.  Also, to be able to see bands on a full stage playing full sets, not in a parking lot, and with good lighting was very refreshing.  Love the Warped Tour and all, but between the sun, crazy schedule of bands, and less than ideal conditions in general it’s not the best place to see your fave bands.  Stage AE, being one of Pittsburgh’s premiere facilities, was a sight to behold last night with all the moshing bodies, legs and arms akimbo in the air and aloft upon another’s arms, and the general great vibe put out from everyone there, audience and bands included.

Alkaline Trio started their set off with “Cringe”, setting the tone immediately with a classic and fan beloved tune to get everyone in the proper frame of mind.   “[Cringe] is a pretty fun, high-energy tune, and the few fans we had at the time [we released it] really responded to it,” says Alkaline Trio vocalist/bassist Dan Andriano. “I love playing it to this day because it reminds me of that energy and the connection we began to share with the crowd, which is something we’ve strived to maintain to this day (Alternative Press)”.  Other songs that were included in their dynamic set included “Take With Lots of Alcohol”, “Sadie”, “Queen of Pain”, “Calling All Skeletons”, “Lied My Face Off”, “Ever Thug Needs a Lady”, “Time to Waste”, “I Wanna Be a Warhol”, “Dead and Broken”, and “My Friend Peter”.  The vocal output of both vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba and the aforementioned Andriano is really impressive when witnessed live.  While maybe not having the flying about type antics of their peers, Alkaline Trio make up for it in their pent up emotion sent through their instruments released into the crowd and circularly back to them.  Their is a certain craft and art that Skiba, Andriano, and drummer Derek Grant create as the number in their suggests that is very unique and powerful and sets them in a different class than most punk artists.  In support of their latest effort, My Shame Is True, the band has full fan support with their new songs, especially fine tunes like “I Wanna Be A Warhol” which certainly has a connection in Pittsburgh as Andy Warhol was born here.  Overall it was a gem of a performance to witness that one could dare say was a perfect blend of art meets rough spikes of punk. (Be sure to scroll down to each band’s review for all pictures)

All photos ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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The co-headliner New Found Glory has been to Pittsburgh many times, often seen at Warped Tour, and they never disappoint with a high energy output.  As one of their t-shirts claims, “Pop Punk Is Not Dead”, and it certainly was not in The ‘Burg last night.  Jordan Pundik, looking like Morrissey and Henry Rollins’ love child, dominated the stage at all ends and showed no signs of slowing down the entire set. With a rich history of songs to draw from such as “All Downhill From Here”, “It’s Not Your Fault”, “Truck Stop Blues”, “Sucker”, “Radiosurgery”, “Anthem For The Unwanted”, “Forget My Name”, and “My Friends Over You”, the band had a ton of material to choose from to entertain the crowd.  On top of these tunes and other originals they also banged out two left field covers of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (to which Jordan remarked, “Yes.  We just played that.”) and Six Pence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” to great applause.  NFG is one of those bands that still get it that punk can be serious fun.

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My only complaint about opener H2O is that we don’t see you often enough!  Damn this band is awesome and it had been too long since they had been in Pittsburgh for my liking.  While some of us old timers in the crowd were getting our fix of Toby and Todd Morse, Rust Pistachio, Adam Blake, and Todd Friend we could not help but notice that the younger audience members were really into as well.  This is the beauty of shows like this.  While H2O may not have felt entirely at home with a crowd that was not completely familiar with their music at first; they were quick to find that there were more loyalist than they maybe first thought.  Toby (vocalist) is so inspiring in his lyrics and performance and is still at the top of his game.  It was also great to see some of the guys hang out to say hi to the fans after their set.  Absolute highlights would be “Family Tree”, “1995”, and “One Life One Chance” as well as a thrown in snippet of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” and a brief guest vocal at one point by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba.  It’s been awhile since any new tunes have come from H2O, the last release being 2011’s Don’t Forget Your Roots which was a tribute record to their fave bands.  Toby has said after this tour they will concentrate on recording after the holidays and a release sometime in 2014.  It will be good to hear some new stuff, but last night it was truly great to hear some classic.(On a side note, Rusty has some really cool jewelry that he makes called P-Nut Jewelry available at the shows.)

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