Words by Bill San Antonio

Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio fame) took the stage at the Metro in Chicago on June 7th wearing a feathered headdress and leather bone vest for the first show with his side project, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets, and as the band broke into ‘Voices’, their singer had difficulty doing the same. He opened his mouth and the words wouldnâ’t come, and when they did, they were often the wrong words. He forgot guitar chords and lyrics, and continuously knocked over the mic stand he kept as an aide to his right. The Sekrets, doing their best to hide their frustration, played on.

Fans in Skiba’s hometown – the Sekrets’ three-week tour with the Smoking Popes served as something of an homage to Chicago – were not pleased. Some booed; many demanded their money back. Most left before the set was even three songs old. Others waited for Skiba, who reportedly left the venue an hour after the show ended, awaiting an explanation (he’d later tweet that he was so nervous for the show that he lost his voice, but it was heavily speculated that Skiba had been intoxicated during the show). Video of the ordeal hit the Internet, igniting conversation in various punk forums across the web.


Nearly a week later, the tour rolled into the Bell House in Brooklyn on June 13th, after stops in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Following a 45-minute set from the Smoking Popes singer Josh Caterer dedicated the song ‘Megan’ to Skiba and his band, thanking them for bringing the Popes along, it was the Sekrets’ turn to play. Skiba was the last of the group to step onstage, again wearing the headdress and bone vest, bowing before the crowd as drummer Jarrod Alexander (also of My Chemical Romance) kicked off ‘Voices’ with four cymbal crashes.

Skiba remembered his lyrics in New York, and the music stand this time was kept upright. The singer maintained a serious demeanor throughout the set, rarely addressing the crowd except to thank them for coming and to acknowledge the Smoking Popes as “my favorite band since I was 13 years old”. The Sekrets raced through a 45-minute set, playing most of their debut LP Babylon, which was released on May 8th. In his signature goth punk style, Skiba covered Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’ as part of a speedy two-song encore, whereupon the band immediately left the stage and the lights returned to the venue as the crowd chanted for one more song that wouldn’t come.


TheWaster.com | Brooklyn