IT'S always good to see a band sweat within three songs.

You know, that sheen on a bald head or what was an elegantly swept fringe on the first chord now a rather straggly triangle in the middle of the forehead.

It rather demonstrates the band is trying. And that was the scene at the O2 Academy in Oxford on Tuesday night as Alkaline Trio kicked off their UK tour.

Being truthful, I've seen them produce a (slightly) better show but they were certainly not going through the motions in Oxford.

It was fast, it was loud, it was punky and it was everything you would want from an Alkaline Trio show. They were not just easing themselves in gently to this trip.

Whilst the tour is to support their latest album - the 18-song setlist contained five songs from My Shame Is True, including stand-out track I Wanna Be A Warhol - it opened with the classic This Could Be Love and that set the tone: hard and fast.

They played for just over an hour and covered a fair representation of their work.

The highlight had to Sadie. Off their Crimson album, if there was a single song you could pick to define Alkaline Trio, this is the baby.

It's about Sadie Mae Glutz of Manson family infamy and whilst the subject matter is bleak, the music itself is strong and certainly the light that wraps around the dark. In Oxford the three-piece's rendition was accompanied by a recording of the string backing track to augment the guitar, bass and drums.

A longer set is the only quibble but Alkaline Trio certainly did not disappoint.

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