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The past decade has been an odd one for Alkaline Trio. Following the release of the Chicago punk band’s eighth studio album, 2013’s My Shame Is True, all three members took time off to focus on solo material and side projects. But when vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba joined Blink-182 in 2015, the band he’d started in 1996 no longer felt like his main gig—he became immersed in Blink, playing on two of their albums and touring with them prior to the pandemic. Alkaline Trio reconvened for 2018’s Is This Thing Cursed?, but drummer Derek Grant began a leave of absence before the touring cycle started, citing a need to focus on his mental health—which left the band without the rhythmic backbone they’d had for the previous 15 years. Skiba’s stint in Blink-182 is potentially ending, though (if his recent eyebrow-raising social-media comments about being iced out of the band are at all accurate), and Grant is back in the fold. This makes Alkaline Trio’s return to Metro—billed as an official Riot Fest “aftershow,” though it takes place the night before they headline the Roots Stage on the festival’s first day—feels both like a celebratory homecoming and a chance for the members to recommit to a band they’ve had on pause.
As one of the most successful acts to come out of Chicago’s fertile 90s punk scene, Alkaline Trio have gone from Fireside Bowl mainstay to major-label recording act with a Nike partnership, then settled into their own Epitaph imprint, Heart & Skull. Even though each member eventually moved away from Chicago, they’ve still flown the city’s flag like a badge of pride, and they’re known to pull out all the stops when they return here for a run of shows. With so much Alkaline Trio history made on Metro’s stage—they’ve released two show-exclusive seven-inches at the venue and recorded a whopping nine live albums there—the timing of their return feels symbolic. The band are moving into legacy-act territory, so that this concert feels less like an obligatory festival aftershow and more like the first page of their next chapter.
Alkaline Trio Thu 9/15, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, sold out, 18+
Alkaline Trio This set is part of Riot Fest. Fri 9/16, 7:25 PM, Roots Stage, Douglass Park,1401 S. Sacramento, one-day passes $129.98-$899.98, two-day passes $199.98 (general admission only), three-day passes $299.98-$1,999.98, all ages