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Three Frontmen, No Backing Bands

November 29th, 2010

Matt Skiba – Mercury Lounge – November 27, 2010

Matt Skiba - Mercury Lounge - November 27, 2010
On Saturday night, Mercury Lounge was sold out for a trio of punk-rock frontmen playing sans bands. The Loved OnesDave Hause was first up, and his set consisted of some covers and his solo material. As with many other intimate acoustic shows, his started with a rather calm crowd. But once he started into a cover of the Loved Ones’ “Jane,” the audience came alive.

Brendan Kelly, of the Lawrence Arms, began his set in a way few other frontman have the charisma to do. He didn’t realize his guitar was out of tune, or that he was in no shape to tune it, until he came out onstage. As a fan in the very front worked on the strings, Kelly slurred his words while addressing the crowd. Kelly was notable not only for how he laughingly handled his own ridiculousness, but also because it broke up the hush-hush atmosphere that had previously filled the venue.

Matt Skiba, best known as Alkaline Trio’s frontman, took the stage immediately after Kelly, amid cheers and clapping. Although he released a solo album, Demos, just a few months ago, his set was filled with songs released by the Trio—like “Good Fucking Bye,” “Blue in the Face” and “Warbrain”—a few of which were rounded out by Hause and Kelly. And then the closer, “Radio,” found most of the audience onstage and singing along. It was wonderful night of stellar frontmen playing toned-down punk rock that left this fan even more excited for December’s Where’s The Band? tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg. —Kirsten Housel

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Housel