Published Jul 16, 2012Wrong place at the wrong time. That was the thick, nearly dreadful feeling in the air when Chicago melodic punk three-piece Alkaline Trio got a few songs into their set on the main stage of Festival d'été de Québec.
Awkward booking or not, it was up to Matt Skiba and company to recognize the crickets chirping on the Plains of Abraham and turn that shit around. They came close when bassist Dan Andriano took the mic, his rough, raspy and ready vocal style making it even more evident that the festival organizers might have considered booking Against Me! instead.
Alkaline Trio's deep bass throb could have made for an emotional experience if fully embraced, but instead the three guys just seemed uncomfortable up there. When Skiba mentioned that the last time they played in Quebec City 12 years ago they slept on punk band Fifth Hour Hero's floor ("There was about 87,000 less of you last time," he quipped), it just made us pine even more for a nice dingy club with sweating walls and some element of punk rock danger.
Instead we got a great-sounding band with kick-ass songs ("Blue Carolina," in particular, was golden) playing to a crowd entirely too big for them. It was the concert equivalent of a goldfish flipping around in a net. Uncomfortable bummer vibes for everyone involved.