Event Reviews

Alexisonfire @ Hordern Pavillion 19/01/16 (Live Review)

Written by Kae McKenzie

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The iconic Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire returned to Australia to headline Unify Gathering 2017, with a companion tour taking them to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as well. The band recently reunited in March 2015 after a four-year split, and have only just been able to celebrate this with their beloved Aussie fans. Amnplify got the opportunity to see this joyous reunion at Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion last Thursday.

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ALEXISONFIRE

Alexisonfire | Josh Concepcion

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Coming back from a similarly long hiatus, the emo sounds of Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan warmed up the crowd. With much hair flipping from front man Matthew Wright, the pop solution to emo rock with slightly over produced backing tracks had most of the mid-20s crowd nostalgic for scene haircuts and iPod classics and other relics of the past. Shadows, from 2006’s Other Voices, Other Rooms, received a very warm response, hinting the other track was highly anticipated. Wright introduced Where the City Meets the Sea as, “This is a song,” and my only misgivings were that they did not close the set with it, as the less than four-minute song always leaves the listener wanting more. Even the stage managers could be seen with their phones up filming the song.

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Lights down to huge cheers after some jewellery box music, followed by an epic fanfare tape track that accompanies the boys walking on stage. The five of them had an immediate presence of sound and light and movement. Dallas Green’s clean vocals instantly ignited the Hordern, with the whole pit singing along. Strategic moments in the set highlighted the vocals, bathing the crowd in golden lights while they chanted with their fists raised.

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We Are Not the Kids We Used to Be was the track to jump to. Lead guitarist Wade MacNeil and bassist Chris Steele sparred off while unclean vocalist George Pettit jumped about, running around like a very angry headless chook. Meanwhile, drummer Jordan Hastings was very regal and commanding amongst a siege of guitars and vocals. Steele has to be one the most gleeful people I’ve ever seen on a stage. Lighting was as chaotic and garish as the band; this was the place where fun and terror meet.

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ALEXISONFIRE

Alexisonfire | Josh Concepcion

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After Rough Hands rounded off, Pettit stopped the show and asked everyone if they were OK? “Cuz the next song is going to be hazardous to your health.” MacNeil and Green joined in, for all they were making jokes that it’s ok to admit you’re a little bit older, they were pretty concerned about everyone in the “sweet spot” being Ok. The band showed an awful lot of caring towards their Aussie audience ahead of “Crisis time”, a particularly mental number.

Dog’s Blood was Green’s chance to get out from behind the mic and run around with the rest of them. Shredded remnants of clothing were flung around while grown men rolled haphazardly over the hands of others.

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Alexisonfire shows are a safe place for everybody. Regardless of sex, regardless of culture, regardless of sexual preference” – this was the proclamation leading into Accept Crime and probably the political statement the band made all evening.

There’s something powerful, almost authoritative, about the three boys chanting a verse in unison.

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Wade MacNeil made an earnest pledge later in the evening: “Other bands will say to you this is a second home. They are lying. But when I say, Australia is Alexisonfire’s second home I really fucking mean it. Thank you so much.”

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ALEXISONFIRE

Alexisonfire | Josh Concepcion

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Coming back for the encore everything seemed more tender and heartfelt until Pulmonary Archery broke into its main song. The slow depth of the last 4 tracks seemed to hammer home the affection the band harbours for our kindred country. The boys jammed out a beautiful blend of chords to seal the deal with solos from Green and MacNeil before returning to the regular programming of ‘wake up’ and ‘was this what we hoped for?’ The band jammed out the remaining riffs together while Pettit snapped a mic stand.

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Alexisonfire is a whirlwind blowing through town with nothing but chaos and sound biting at their heels. They truly proved the quintet are delighted to be together again performing live. We can’t wait to see what the future brings. Hopefully a new album soon – it’s been long enough!

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Check out Joshua Concepcion’s full gallery here

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Kae McKenzie

January 21st, 2017

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Kae McKenzie

Hi, I'm Kae. I've always loved live music and I'm excited to write about it for AMNplify. I'm also part of the Proofreading team and manager of the Facebook team.

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