@Newcastle O2 Academy, June 30 2015
After announcing a co-headline tour at the back end of 2014, many were wondering if Trio would still have a future come the tour due to Matt Skiba’s involvement with Blink 182. Fast forward six months and the Illinois punks look tighter than ever, with Skiba acting like a man who is enjoying playing and making music rather than being burdened by dual band politics.
With the Academy virtually sold out, Trio got the crowd going with This Could Be Love as Skiba and Dan Andriano took up their usual two-pronged attacked, dressed in their own branded baseball jackets.
While many would argue that it should have been NOFX opening for Alkaline Trio, and not the other way around, the boys showed no signs of contempt, conducting themselves in their usual professional manner.
Due to the show taking on a double headline approach, many were caught out with the stage times, and it wasn’t until I Wanna Be A Warhol, halfway through the set, that the hall started filling up with fans and there was finally a full room to play to. If the latecomers were just a little peeved then there are few better tracks to be greeted with than the racing guitars, pounding drums and sing along effects of one of Trio’s biggest and best known songs.
As the venue neared capacity the atmosphere grew and Skiba showed his prowess as he owned the stage with pacey, jump around tracks such as Time To Waste and Stupid Kid, before exiting and returning for a mini encore with Private Eye and Radio.
Following a swift turnaround, Fat Mike and crew arrived on stage to a warm crowd which they instantly took advantage of – telling them to fuck off, with the audience roaring back a chorus of “you fat bastard”.
After a banter filled opening, the comedic Californians got the show underway with Dinosaurs Will Die, before flying through 72 Hookers and Leave It Alone as the crowd laughed and sang along for what will surely prove to be one of the shows of the year.
Joking aside, this is a punk act that has survived four decades – a feat few can match. Many punk acts are still hitting the road but few are pulling in the crowds like NOFX, and this is a testament to their live act, their showmanship and most of all, the songs they have written.
While Fat Mike may act like a clown between tracks, and take on the appearance of an overgrown boy refusing to mature, there are few artists around who can switch from court jester to sell-out rock star in the flick of a switch, something which he does with ease.
With a back catalogue filled with two-minute tracks, the four piece rolled through around 30 tracks before drawing the show to a head with fan favourites Linoleum and Bottles To The Ground.
As the crowd reached its peak, NOFX seized the minute, providing the perfect closing number in the shape of Kill All The White Man. With the tracks’ punk infused, ska vibe and sing along feel, the chorus echoed around a hot, sticky Academy on one of the hottest days of the year – brought to boiling point by the brilliant Fat Mike.