The (Cabaret) Metro has been a staple in the Chicago music scene for the past 35 years. Hosting bands like Sonic Youth, R.E.M, Smashing Pumpkins, and of course, Alkaline Trio, the venue has seen its fair share of insane shows. For its 35th birthday, Metro has been hosting enormous bands in their 1100 capacity club, to bring fans the intimate experience with their favourite bands that they may never have hoped to get before. I was one of those people, because on August 3rd, 2017, I saw blink-182 at Metro, the night before they headlined Lollapalooza.
The show opened with electro-pop artist Elohim, who I had never heard of prior to hearing that she was going to open for blink. As an electro-pop artist playing a punk show, she was offering her soul to a tough crowd. She was able to captivate the audience, and halfway through her set, people were dancing and getting fully into her stage presence.
Elohim makes everything about the music. It’s just her, her keyboards and her mixers on stage, so there’s no other entities in between her and her creations. Her feminine mystique is strong, as she covered her face while playing with her hair or a hood, so that we focus on feeling her music rather than watching her. Elohim used this opportunity to play a high-profile show, and I doubt this is the last we’ll be seeing from her.
And then, there was blink-182. If you ever wanted to see blink-182 in 1997, tonight was the most reminiscent of that time. There was no flaming FUCK sign, no pyrotechnics, no fancy screens. blink-182 was stripped down to three punk dudes on a stage, playing for 1100 people instead of 30,000. The band was much more comfortable playing to a smaller room, like they were playing for a bunch of their friends. However, Matt Skiba (guitar/vocals), the newest addition of blink-182, appeared to be the most comfortable. Skiba, hailing from Chicago, has played the Metro growing up and with his other band, Alkaline Trio, has referred to it as his second home. On this night, you could feel his comfort level was at an all time high. Mark Hoppus (bass/vocals) mentioned that the last time blink-182 played Metro was 20 years ago, even before Travis Barker (drums) joined the band. It was truly an experience that I’ll never forget.
Playing newer songs from their Grammy nominated album, California, to deep cuts from Enema of the State, blink-182 played an hour and fifteen minutes of pure, unadulterated bliss. They bantered, just like they always have, and although I have seen blink-182 a few times with Matt Skiba replacing original guitarist Tom DeLonge, I’ve never truly appreciated all that is Matt Skiba until I saw him perform on his own turf. Travis Barker (drums) blew me away, as per usual, with drum solos and perfect timing throughout the entire set. Watching Barker play is like watching a surgeon perform an operation: skillful, steady, and a master at his craft.
Running a successful music venue for 35 years is difficult work, but after attending a show at Metro, it’s clear why they continue to be successful. Things run smoothly, there’s a method and a flow to everything that they do, they’re adequately staffed not only in security, but in servers and bartenders as well. From the lighting to the sound quality, everything was top notch. I’m excited to see what the next 35 years will bring for Metro.