Concert Review: Alkaline Trio at La Boule Noire (Paris)

Alkaline Trio (Chicago, IL) and Broadway Calls (Rainier, OR)
February 2nd, 2009
La Boule Noire in Paris, France

The Trio, along with their multitude of drummers, has posed some serious discussions over their reliability and greatness throughout the past decade. Following the Asian Man Records years with, in my opinion, lackluster efforts threw their original audience off entirely or struggling to hold on. Agony & Irony helped dispel some of the haze, finally shaking the death lexicon up for a more optimistic album. However, leading into their show at La Boule Noire on Monday in Paris I still had some skepticism.

Now, aside from Paris and Europe being incredibly exciting artistically and culturally for me, it’s the absolute best place to catch North American bands. Odds are, the venue’s tiny, far smaller than at home. La Boule Noire was no different. It’s in the basement of a building in Montmartre, or cavern, closed off from everything by a metal door on the street. As for the size? The same if not smaller than the classic Fireside Bowl!

Opening for the Trio on this tour is the Rainier, Oregon punk band Broadway Calls. Releasing their next album on the Side One Dummy label, they play straightforward melodic (pop) punk along the vein of None More Black. It’s comforting punk, often too predictable but solid around the edges. Towards the end of the set, the songs started to be mixed up, adding tension through build-ups and drumming mix-ups. It’s when that comfort zone got pushed when I was very impressed.

Though not nearly as dazed as after the Trio’s set, housing a mélange of songs from the myriad of their discography. They were off to the races with “Calling All Skeletons” and eased back to the end, pacing themselves at the end with the confidence they had this predominately French speaking crowd under their control with “This Could Be Louvre”, “Warbrain”, and Radio”. Skiba, like the rest of the band, was having a great time as evident by his random, albeit corny, jokes like, ‘The next song is called “Merci Me”. The captives in the crowd let their set just stream roll by. Their ‘best show ever in Paris’ was punctuated with an intimacy unattained in their venues at home, interacting with the audience without the barricades, without the burly security guards-much like how it used to be for us Chicagoans before the Fireside went bowling, and the Bottom Lounge was leveled by the CTA.

It’s amusing how you can still capture the feeling of Chicago punk music, thousands of miles away, and years after it passed. The music styles may have dulled, according to some, and the audience speaking a foreign language, but the environment endures. Here’s to the most electric Alkaline Trio show I’ve attended.

Someone caught some great shots, so I’ll point you to their Flickr: Trio at La Boule Noire

Set List:
Calling All Skeletons
Private Eye
I Lied My Face Off
Nose Over Tail
I Found Away
In Vein
We’ve Had Enough
Donner Party (All Night)
If We Never Go Inside
Goodbye Forever
Emma
Maybe I’ll Catch Fire
Jaked on Green Beers
I Was A Prayer
Mercy Me
This Could Be Love

Encore
Warbrain
Radio

Broadway Calls
iTunes | MySpace

Alkaline Trio
iTunes | Alkaline Trio | MySpace

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