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AAA Music | 23 September 2019

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NOFX + Alkaline Trio – Live @ O2 Academy Leeds

| On 14, Jul 2015

Thursday 2nd July, Leeds

In the ten years that I have been going to see Alkaline Trio – now being in my 20s – a lot has changed for the band (and myself), but the band remain very important to me, and their passion and melodies still resonate with me to this day. On the other hand, NOFX are a band who, in their present mindset at least, appear to be beating a dead horse…but more on that later.

To some, the first band on tonight, the ‘legendary’ punk band Lagwagon, are the epitome of a hard-working punk band. Now over 20 some years into their career, they’ve remained on the radar but not been as important to the music industry as the big-sellers like Offspring, Green Day and Rancid. Yet, like all the other bands onstage tonight, they have stayed true to themselves, which is in my opinion  common the entity of what punk is.

Tonight, Lagwagon showed the crowd a band who are still very much alive and well, but the crowd that they had were less receptive, leaving an atmosphere of, well, quite literally a band who were fighting for attention from the audience. A few numbers perked up the ears of the crowd from two of their most popular tracks – ‘May 22nd’ and ‘Mr. Coffee’ – and the punks came out to play.

The first of tonight’s co-headliners, Alkaline Trio, put on a storming set – quite literally, as barely any time was dedicated to speaking to the crowd. Instead, the band used their time onstage to fit in as much material as they possibly could. Much of the set favoured their 2003 release Good Mourning, quite possibly their most recognisable album, and one that set a new bar for the band – from this album they produced some infectiously catchy, songs most of which were on display tonight. The stand-out favourites were ‘All On Black’ and ‘Continental’. Alkaline Trio have always been very tight whenever I have seen them perform live and tonight was no different. Mustering all the energy he had, Derek the drummer would pound his drums, changing fills and rudiments to add new flavours, while Matt and Dan’s voices have never sounded better. All in all their set was an all-encompassing success.

NOFX, a band now more than 20 years into long-winding career, have built what appears to be a very dedicated fan-base, which has seemingly facilitated the kind of longevity that is in the vein of The Rolling Stones (yes, I said that). Although NOFX are by no means a stadium selling band like the Stones, their appeal is well noted tonight, even if at times Fat Mike comes across like he enjoys pushing the boundaries of what is comical and what is offensive. He has likeable mannerisms, there is no doubt about that, but when he makes remarks about someone in the crowd who is bounded by a wheelchair and makes a point to poke fun at them is where it goes from being a mildly humorous affair to a very awkward and sour one. It’s an unfortunate scenario that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, one that is hard to shake even with classics from their Punk In Drublic album, which they performed ably in its entirety tonight. With that said, this gig-goer was left feeling a tad disappointed, especially after the excellence of Alkaline Trio.

Joe Sheridan