Thereâ€™s a certain amount of satisfaction you get from seeing your favorite bands play live that their cds just can’t provide. With that, there is also the chance of disappointment when seeing those bands for the first time. This was the case with the Alkaline Trio and my trip to Virginia. Discovering them in late 2000, I had missed every opportunity to see them until June 2005. Five years of expectations. Opening for the trio was Thieves Like Us from California and eMo/Pop Punk giants Rufio. Thieves Like Us (TLU) started slow, greeting Norfolk like they were at home with them. With their first song, the influence of the Alkaline Trio is strangely evident, as clichÃ© as it seems. The dark pop with running bass lines trying to catch up with some impressive drumming was almost a direct copy of the headliners. What set them apart were their obvious amateur arrangement skills. Each song, all with strong potential, tended to die off by the second verse, while the crowd grew duller with each passing song.
With their closing song, recognizable from their Myspace profile, they showed what the crowd had been waiting for the whole twenty minutes of the set. They showed what TLU are like at their best. If opportunity keeps ringing, TLU could very well be on their way to an I-Pod near you. With little hesitation, Rufio took the stage. A week earlier, Rufio’s equipment had been stolen after a Toronto show, so they had announced they would be using TLU’s equipment. Exploding from the stage, the band took off with Above Me, stirring the crowd into frenzy. Before coming to the show, I had not been a huge fan of Rufio, but because it was them who got me into the show, I had decided to keep an extra open ear for them. Starting with one of my favorites helped a lot too. The band didnâ€™t seemed phased at all by the lack of their own equipment, playing as solid as can be expected from a top act like them. They plowed through hits like Still and She Cries and skipped to 1985 and drove songs like White Lights and Science Fiction with equal force. Rufio was proving to be a power house live. Nearing the end of their set, singer Scott Sellers announced the final songs would be from the new record, The Comfort Of Home. Songs like the metal-esq. Decide and the finale of Out Of Control proved to me that Rufio is definitely something you have to see to believe.
Finally the moment had come. It a few short minutes, for the first time in this young music lovers life, he would be graced with the presence of the Alkaline Trio. The show began with the piano tones of Time To Waste, eagerly ascending to fill the venue as the band took the stage. They flew through their single with ease, proving that the newer and more mature record, Crimson, would not be the challenge to play live as predicted by many. Playing for what seemed like hours, the Alkaline Trio lived up to the expectations I had set. Matt Skibba graced the stage, oddly, smiling the whole hour set. Dan Adriano played his walking bass lines with ease and complimented Derrick Grants drumming like a glove. The vocals from all three were amazing and most impressive was that of Derrick Grant’s, who recently has been proving to be a vital force in the Alkaline Trio. They ended the show with 97, with Matt Skibba screaming “I Don’t Deserve This”. Who could have said it better?