Over the last decade both Saves the Day and Alkaline Trio have progressed from youthful emo-rock outfits churning out arousing, existentialist recordings to a considerably more matured bunch of artists who turn out a polished style of dark, heavy lyrical content and sound. And both bands are still able to induce fainting-like symptoms upon its crowd.
In a time where emotional catharsis is lacking in music, Saves the Day took the stage to a crowded room at the Highline Ballroom in New York and projected eclipsing emotions upon the stirring masses. Providing a multi-faceted mix of melodic pop lead singer Chris Conley and Saves the Day played a mixed set of hallmark anthems. From tracks off Through Being Cool and Stay What You Are—the highlight of their musical career—to sounds from newer albums such as Sound the Alarm and Under the Boards Conley and co. played a relentless set.
Amidst a buzzing crowd of frenzied-followers, Saves the Day, remained passionate, fiery and in constant control of its crowd. Favorites played included “Shoulder to the Wheel”, “At Your Funeral”, and “Kaleidoscope”. Conley is a very passionate singer who belts out disturbingly graphic lyrics with ferocity and his lead-guitar riffs are both catchy and poppy. Although Saves the Day have ditched its previously pop-punk sound for a more strict pop sound, the band had many moments throughout the night where they rocked out and went straight for the pop-rock jugular.
After Saves the Day finished their spirited and melodic set, Chicago’s veteran punk rockers Alkaline Trio took the stage and proved why they are still able to earn admiration from fans and listeners after all these years. Alkaline Trio’s music—a compelling lyrical mix of alcoholism, depression, darkness, arson, and love—has evolved ambitiously with each album and the band played a culmination of their hits.
Playing an eclectic mix of big-hooked songs, Alkaline Trio opened with fan favorite “My Friend Peter” off the Alkaline Trio record, a compilation album containing out-of-print EPs. Lead singer and guitarist Matt Skiba, who donned a newsboy cap, kept up a constant interaction with the crowd throughout. After referring to the crowd of New Yorkers as “the most attractive on tour,” he then asked for its help on “Calling All Skeletons”—which the crowd stomped and clapped along to—and “Continental”, a finger pointing and shouting-along anthem.
The set was full of upbeat emo-jolts such as “I Found Away”, “Cooking Wine”, and “Rooftops” and darker anthems that included “I’m Dying Tomorrow”, “San Francisco”, and “Queen of Pain,” which pays homage to New York. The Trio balanced darkness and melody on tracks like “Sadie”, the epic tale of Manson family member Sadie Mae Glutz, and “This Could Be Love”. Bassist and co-vocalist Dan Andriano churned out gut-wrenching shouts throughout the night, but was most impressive on “Two Lips, Two Lungs And One Tongue” a cover of Canadian punk rock band NoMeansNo. The band ended an enigmatic set with fan favorite “Radio”, a song whose lyrics showcase great songwriting ability and prove the incredible ability of Skiba and Andriano to pack in punchy chord changes with dark, humorous lyrics.
Alkaline Trio are veterans in the punk rock game who carry a fanatic following and the ability to craft both lyrically sinister songs and complex melodic, emo-punk sounds. The Trio is still a very underrated band and to pigeonhole them into any one genre is impossible. It’s obvious why Alkaline Trio has already survived through this game long enough to achieve veteran status and receive the respect they garner from fans and novice bands. The Trio has incredible range, musical ability, and can consistently deliver high-energy anthems, hearth-throbbing beats, and seasoned lyrics. Fans just hope the next Trio record sounds a lot more like From Here to Infirmary than Agony & Irony.