The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory, H2O Turn Back The Clock At Aragon

By aaroncynic in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 18, 2013 8:30PM

It was a night for pogoing, moshing and getting a solid fix of melodic hardcore Sunday night at Aragon Ballroom with a triple bill of Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory and H2O.

As pretentious and ridiculous as it sounds, Alkaline Trio has aged like fine wine. Matt Skiba and company made the transition from record store floor and bowling alley stage to playing to sold out crowds while wearing varsity jackets with class. Any band with a catalog coming close to spanning two decades touring on a recent release have a hard time pleasing a crowd with a wide age differential, but not these guys. The boys from suburban McHenry pulled a handful of singalong hits from nearly every record and trotted out B-sides and deep cuts like “I Lied My Face Off,” “Warbrain” and the always popular closer “My Friend Peter.” Whether you’re someone who just heard “I Wanna Be a Warhol” earlier this year or remembers listening to “Cringe” on repeat while hiding behind a suburban record store dumpster drinking Mickey’s grenades, Alkaline Trio knows how to hammer a good set home.

I’ve managed to find a way to see H2O nearly every time they’ve passed through Chicago since the late 90’s. Their poppy yet still edgy brand of melodic hardcore is one I’ve never been able to get enough of. Unfortunately, some bands don’t translate well to a towering stage with a deep barricade like the Aragon’s. Singer Toby Morse spent most of their set in the space between stage left and right, which made up somewhat for the inability to pile on stage for songs like “Family Tree” and “5 Year Plan,” but despite best efforts, something still felt off. On top of the difficulty of making hardcore happen in what’s ostensibly a venue meant for arena rock, someone in the sound booth must’ve been napping. The levels felt way off for the first 15 minutes of H2O’s set, yet they weathered the storm and managed to get the crowd good and warmed up. By the time Matt Skiba popped on stage to sing his part in “What Happened,” the nearly packed to capacity house was already mildly sweaty.

New Found Glory was my Roger Murtaugh moment. While I can’t deny the band’s energy or stage presence, bubble gum pop punk with breakdowns is the kind of thing that usually puts me in the mood to tell kids to get off my lawn. New Found Glory brought their "A" game to the Aragon, delighted the majority of the crowd and by the time they hit the stage those folks in the sound booth seemed to have woken up. Still, it wasn’t enough for this geezer to get past angry looking bro’s throwing elbows to songs about kissing lovers.