Is it a sign of old age when the coolest thing at a gig is the awesome air-con? Nottingham Rock City wasn’t packed out tonight, but the noise could have come from a crowd twice its size.  Relentless energy from two support acts didn’t stop the venue from erupting when Matt Skiba, resplendent in a shirt and bow tie, reached the stage with his bandmates, kickstarting a night of massive singalongs and moshpits.

Alkaline Trio have a hugely loyal fanbase, every song was shouted back at the band word-perfect by nearly every person standing in front of them, regardless of their age. Having had their biggest success in the UK with Stupid Kid in 2001, a large proportion of the crowd will have been enjoying young adulthood and teenage life when the band were at the peak of their popularity here.

Alkaline Trio aren’t your average punk rock band – moments of bliss shine through

This isn’t your average punk rock band, filling sets with near identical two minute bursts of manic guitar and bouncing around a lot. Sure, those elements were there tonight in the form of the punchy In Vein and Snake Oil Tankard, little explosions strategically placed throughout the set to revitalise the crowds energy. But moments of bliss shine through – Radio from 2000’s Maybe I’ll Catch Fire was beautifully anthemic, with cries of: “I’ve got a big fat f**king bone to pick with you my darling” resonating through the venue’s main hall. Tears and stupidly big grins could be seen in some reminiscing factions of the crowd, with the same smiles also planted across the faces of the band – a sign that the lack of crowd interaction was probably down to their shyness and modesty rather than the arrogance exuded by bands at many similar gigs.

This Addiction, the band’s latest release, has clearly been studied by most of the crowd before tonight’s show. Its incredible title track was one of the biggest hits of the night. But the moment that united the room could only have been when Matt Skiba stepped up to the mic and announced “This is called Stupid Kid”. It was teenage heartbreak all over again, and not one person was regretting it, fists flying, voices cracking and bodies rebounding. And as if that didn’t take people back far enough into their past, ’97 ended the show, seeing the band walking off to cries of “Trio! Trio! Trio!

Alkaline Trio leave the stage to a hail of appreciation from the crowd

Who couldn’t resist coming back to this crowd and giving them more? A cover of Attitude by punk legends Misfits satisfied the crowd’s final hunger, the full array of ages at tonight’s gig enjoying the hit from 1995. Thanking the crowd profusely, Alkaline Trio left the stage to a hail of appreciation from an audience who could not have been happier spending the night re-living their youth.

Review: Steve McCaul

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