Live Review: Alkaline Trio, Bayside and Love Zombies – The Forum, London – 26/04/2014

The tough part of being in a successful band like Alkaline Trio is that after 8 albums and 15 years of touring, your fan base is severely divided. How do you cater to fans who’ve been there since the start, those who were into the goth-punk operatic of ‘Crimson’, and newer fans who’ve only heard the latest album? Of course it’s not possible, but Alkaline Trio tries their hardest, even carefully choosing a mix of support bands to reflect this.

First up are Love Zombies, an average slice of female-fronted power-pop with hints of Gwen Stefani about them. Those who are familiar with the Horrorpops will find a lot of similarities here, however Love Zombies differentiate themselves slightly with a more London edge and blissfully keep their lyrics free of  blood and gore references. The Love Zombies play a perfectly inoffensive set, which unfortunately fails to drum up any interest within the crowd. (2/5)

Next up are Bayside, who blast through an introductory set with a mix of older, well-known tracks and a few of the better songs from the new album. While there were notable misses in their set, such as the droll ‘Transitive Property’, newer songs like ‘Pigsty’ fit in well with classics ‘Meet Me at Montuak’ and ‘Devotion and Desire’. Bassist Nick Ghanbarian carried the set with tireless enthusiasm, taking on the majority of the crowd interaction. A good refresher for fans old and new, however Bayside could certainly have benefited from a longer, more developed set. (3.5/5)

After a slightly retro musical introduction, Alkaline Trio take to the stage and tear straight into a greatest hits set, opening with fan favourites ‘This Could Be Love’ and ‘Hell Yes’. For older fans there were hits in abundance, and both ‘Jaked on Green Beers’ and ‘Mr Chainsaw’ raised some of the biggest sing-alongs of the night. Over eighteen songs, just four of them were sung by Dan and the pressure this put on Matt sometimes limited vocals showed, he seemed distracted and forgot a verse in ‘Cringe’. Luckily Alkaline Trio aren’t loved for their flawless sets, and any slip-ups were covered by the crowd’s singing. For those looking to hear new songs, these were present too, even if the choices were slightly strange – ‘Young Lovers’ could easily have been dropped for ‘Midnight Blue’.

The best thing about their performance was not just how much they seemed to enjoy playing, but also the sense of a bond between them and their fans. Despite being slightly sloppy at times, they managed to deliver a brilliantly enjoyable set – and while nobody heard exactly what they wanted, as the closing bars of ‘Radio’ played – everyone was satisfied to scream along anyway. (4/5)

4/5

Words by Jay Sullivan

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