We took a while to work out the intricacies of the Japanese operating system on our Clie PEG UX50 , so once we had some music stuffed into it, it we moved on to working out other fun things like stealing our neighbour's wifi and forcing Windows XP to bow every time the laptop was hooked up to the gizmo. We left Alkaline Trio's 'Good Mourning' album on the memory stick for a full year. A full year. And we never once got bored with it.
We’ve seen these guys now many many times. Long before there was even a Londonist and before they were selling out the Astoria - we even blagged our way backstage simply to shake hands with Dan Andriano and thank him for 'You've Got So Far To Go'. Now we moan with everyone else when we get the new albums, comparing the overly polished sheen with the edgier rawness of the early stuff, not knowing what to make of appearances on Letterman and Conan O'Brien, the punk mentality screaming that success is wrong and ODing before you make it is cool. And then we listen to 'Crawl' and shut the fuck up.
And we have never ever seen a bad Alk 3 show. Ever. It's just not in them to suck.
So what if 'Crimson' was even more pop-punktastic than before... we knew that the CD was just bait to get us here again - queuing with the kids and the wannabe misfits, reading the Marilyn Manson inspired scrawl on backpacks and t-shirts, thanking the good God above that we don't have teenage daughters who go out and rub up against the likes of us...
The opening piano from 'Time To Waste' fills the Astoria and the crowd goes mental. We already know this is going to be a killer show before the Trio pick up their instruments - by the time we're singing along to 'Maybe I'll Catch Fire' we're caught up in some Mephistophelean pact with the band - you guys keep this up and we. will. kill. for. you. "This song's for London," Matt Skiba hollers and there's a wave in the crowd as teenagers struggle to remain standing under the force of their first musically induced orgasms as 'Private Eye' has it's way with them. The older members of the audience rock on regardless knowing that there'll be time to pick up the fallen once the lights come up. Our grim determination and world weary fist shaking is shattered by 'We've Had Enough':
That's it we've had enough, please turn that fucking radio off - Ain't nothin' on the airwaves in the despair we feel.
That's it we've had enough! Put Walk Among Us on and turn it up! Ain’t nothin’ on the airwaves in the hatred we feel. NO!
Old punks covered in faded Misfits tattoos cling on to each other's shoulders and cry like babies.
Then the real sucker punch - 'Radio', the most beautiful anti-love song ever penned is moved up from its usual encore position and takes us all by surprise... "Shaking like a dog shitting razor blades..." and we are OWNED. We once had to point out to a rapidly traumatised fan that the lyrics actually read Take my radio to bathe with you and not to bed with you as she had thought. Hopeless romantics kids these days. The line finishes plugged in and ready to fall.
The encore goes by in a blur and before we know it all that's left is sweat, running mascara and damp underwear.
Hell of a show. Time to go home and fuck like bunnies.