Local Wire

Alkaline Trio @ The Nile Theater

Illinois punk outfit Alkaline Trio has come a long way over the past 15 years, battling drug addictions, troubled relationships, record labels, and — as demonstrated by the band's latest album, Damnesia — expectations of what they should sound like. Alkaline Trio plays a wild card with the record, an album of "greatest hits" such as "Mercy Me" and "Private Eye" revisited with acoustic guitar, organ, piano, and brooding drums — instrumentation that emphasizes the sweetness and longing of love songs and the overall creepiness of songs about blood and pyromania. To that end, the band does what it's always done, embracing macabre themes and poppy sing-alongs. The extremes balance out with two new songs and a cover of the Violent Femmes' "I Held Her in My Arms," but Damnesia still sounds nothing like the melodic punk Alkaline Trio has released in the past. Fans will appreciate it as a celebration of the band's longevity, something Alkaline Trio marks themselves. In 2008, they commemorated the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Goddamnit!, by playing it from start to finish on tour. Their 15th birthday will be no different, as they pay homage to their classic material and tour alongside Chicago pop punkers The Smoking Popes.