Alexisonfire – Hordern Pavilion
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Written by James O’Connor
Photography by Mikki Gomez
Alexisonfire for me had until this week been one of my favourite bands I STILL hadn’t seen live. That all changed down at UNFIY where I watched them destroy the stage. So I was pretty stoked to tag along and check out their full set at their Sydney side show.
Fellow Canadian’s The Dirty Nil kicked things off early playing to a sparse crowd but still worked it like they were playing to a full stadium. The Dirty Nil play a dirty rock which did not quite fit in with the hardcore lineup but the crowd enjoyed them regardless.
Next up was Melbourne outfit Behind Crimson Eyes – they definitely were heavier than I remembered and the crowd slowly built for them. As they said they haven’t played in Sydney in a long time, not sure if they are back for good or if this was a one off but they seemed in fine form.
Riding a wave of nostalgia main support The Getaway Plan were greeted with a warm reception. Unlike their UNIFY set where they played “Other Voices, Other Rooms” in full this was a set scattered over the career but still featured major standouts “Shadows” and “Where The City Meets The Sea”.
Finally it was time for the main act Alexisonfire. The Canadian founders of post hardcore have a special place in their heart for Australia “a tropical version of Canada” and the feeling is certainly mutual. The band burst out of the blocks with “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints” and then proceeded to hammer the crowd with all the big tracks from their 4 albums and ofcourse EP -“Dogs Blood”. Each sing-a-long section was met with deafening crowd vocals even if George described our efforts as “horseshit” at one point. Alexisonfire features a front line of three vocalists who have all gone on to front their own bands (George in Dead Tired, Dallas in City And Colour and Wade in Gallows – making them something of a supergroup), somehow they manage to balance the competing vocalists perfectly live. The beauty of Alexis has always been the beauty amidst the brutality – Wade and George shredding over Dallas’ honey soaked voice. Meanwhile bassist Chris Steele roams the stage like an electrified eel. Most hits from the bands near 15 year career were aired including “Boiled Frogs”, “Young Cardinals” which both went off.
After a brief encore they returned to pulverise the crowd with “The Northern”, “Pulmonary Archery”, “Accidents” and traditional closer “Happiness by the Kilowatt”. It wasn’t till mid way through Accidents that George ripped off his shirt. He sure made up for lost time as the crowd threw their own t-shirts up on stage for George to put on and rip off. Some looked pretty small and sweaty and a few were brand new ones from the merch tent. The night culminated with an extended version of Kilowatt as George tried on some new t-shirts and then destroyed his mike stand. This was s tunning show in terms of lighting and audio but more importantly emotionally. Alexisonfire still are the Only Band Ever.
Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints
This Could Be Anywhere In The World
We Are The Sound
.44 Calibre Love Letter
Happiness By The Kilowatt