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Concert Reviews, Music

Concert Review: Alexisonfire Say Goodbye In Explosive Fashion At Toronto’s Sound Academy

By: Adam Harrison –

George Pettit of Alexisonfire. (Photo: Jamie Gilbert)

George Pettit of Alexisonfire. (Photo: Jamie Gilbert)

Call the fire brigade because this fire can’t be extinguished! Ontario post-hardcore heroes, Alexisonfire, made their third of four sold out appearances in Toronto as part of their farewell tour last night. Teaming up with Hamilton-based Monster Truck, they blew the roof off the Sound Academy.

Monster Truck set the extreme pace of the evening, as if to say, “If you’re not here to rock hard, then get the fuck out!” Their style of heavy riffs and wailing vocals make you feel like they should have existed 25 years ago during Judas Priest’s prime. They even looked the part. Adding in some organ keyboard gave them a unique twist on the genre.

A major highlight during their set was when Alexisonfire frontman, George Pettit, joined the band for their collaborative song, “Sworded Beest.” Giving the crowd a little taste of what was to come and boosting the excitement for Monster Truck’s following two songs and radio hits, “Seven Seas Blues” and “Righteous Smoke” to close their 30-minute set.

A decade after the release of their self-titled debut album, Alexisonfire are calling it a day. Singer and guitarist, Dallas Green, made it public two years ago that he intended to leave the band, now having a successful solo career as City and Colour. Singer and guitarist Wade MacNeil has also found further success as the new frontman for the U.K. punk band Gallows. Nevertheless, their future apart didn’t hold them back from putting on a first rate show.

They opened their explosive 120-minute set with “Young Cardinals,” the first single from their last album, Old Crows/ Young Cardinals. From the very first note, the mosh pit was ignited, Pettit’s shirt was removed, and the crowd went into an absolute frenzy. The madness continued as “Boiled Frogs” a fan favourite from the smash album Crisis followed. In fact, there wasn’t much downtime during the entire set. It was one mosh pit after another for almost the entire two hours.

Intense mosh pits and crowd surfing is expected at an Alexisonfire show, but something was different last night. It was as if everyone was there together, united in the motion of “hey, let’s do this one last time!” Even Pettit himself said, “usually everyone is solemn at first at this show, and I have to get them excited. But not you guys, you guys are monsters!”

The show continued at it’s frantic pace, filled with crowd pleasing songs, old and new, such as “No Transitory,” “Born and Raised,” “Keep it on Wax,” and “Accept Crime.” A farewell wouldn’t be quite right if there weren’t a few sing-a-longs, or shout-a-longs in this case. “Are you pretending? Are you even listening?” screamed the 3,000+ capacity crowd during “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners & Saints.” The other came during “Old Crows” when everyone howled “We are not the kids we used to be” while being thrown around the circle pits.

The band thanked the security for keeping everyone safe and catching all the guys that Green described as “beyond the point of crowd surfing.” MacNeil added he was coming out of crowd surfing retirement during the encore. However, excitement must have gotten the better of him as he leapt into the enthusiastic audience during the very next song. This wasn’t the only rare occasion for the band last night. At one point bassist Chris Steele said a few words of thanks into the microphone, something so rare Pettit compared it to witnessing a unicorn mate with a Yeti.

The main set ended with their breakthrough single “Accidents” from their second album, Watch Out!, in which Kenny Bridges of Moneen joined Pettit on vocals. They both followed in MacNeil’s footsteps and got up close and personal with the fans. Bridges actually managed to stand up on top of the crowd, while Pettit sprawled his shirtless and sweaty body across the sea of fans.

The encore break was short-lived as Alexisonfire burst back onto the stage with “The Northern,” likely the slowest song in their catalogue, allowing a few more moments to bank energy before the fire was re-ignited with “This Could be Anywhere in the World,” arguably their most popular song. The night then came to a close with “Happiness by the Kilowatt.”

It’s obvious how much respect Toronto has for the boys from St. Catharines. Selling out four nights at the Sound Academy is no simple achievement. It not only shows how much love we have for Alexisonfire, but our love for Canadian brewed music. Although bittersweet, this farewell show was a memorable commemoration to celebrate the ten-year career of Alexisonfire.

Alexisonfire Set-List

  1. Young Cardinals
  2. Boiled Frogs
  3. Heading for the Sun
  4. Pulmonary Archery
  5. Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints
  6. No Transitory
  7. Crisis
  8. To A Friend
  9. Rough Hands
  10. Old Crows
  11. We Are The Sound
  12. Born and Raised
  13. Keep It On Wax
  14. Midnight Regulations
  15. .44 Caliber Love Letter
  16. Accept Crime
  17. Dog’s Blood
  18. Accidents (with Kenny Bridges of Moneen)

    Encore

  19. The Northern
  20. This Could Be Anywhere in The World
  21. Happiness By The Kilowatt

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