Photos by Peter Coates – Inside Edge Photography – for LifeMusicMedia.com
After a few years on hiatus, the Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, led by Dallas Green (City & Colour) announced they would be headlining the Unify Gathering in Victoria, and then added a few dates around the country either side of the festival. LifeMusicMedia caught the first night of the tour in Perth, and the band appeared re-energised and most welcomed by the locals.
The opening act, The Dirty Nil, also from Ontario and on their first visit to Australia, hit the stage to a small early crowd, and kept the early birds interested with tracks from their new record Higher Power, and Luke Bentham proved to be a focal point on guitar and vocals, coming over like Everclear after too much red cordial. They are also in the same mould as Highly Suspect and have been out on tour with the likes of Billy Talent and Monster Truck, and are about to tour the UK with The Menzingers, so have a good crossover appeal.
Behind Crimson Eyes from Melbourne have been around for more than 10 years, and remain difficult to pigeonhole, featuring a complex melodic hardcore with a nice line in harmony guitars, generally clean vocals from Josh Stuart, and the almost danceable beats of Addicted, and the complex metalcore rhythms and great drumming of The Bonesmen. The current line up has been enhanced by the addition of Liam Hennessy alongside Aaron Schultz on guitars, and this certainly added to the depth of the band’s sound. The crowd was building up steadily through their set, and they certainly received a good response to older tracks like The Art Of War and Shakedown.
Another Melbourne band with more than a decade of material to draw on, The Getaway Plan appear to have grown up since the heady days of emo success with Other Voices, Other Rooms in 2008 and 2009, after which they have disbanded, reformed for a one-off event, then fully reformed to record Requiem in 2011. In the past 5 years they have gone independent, and released Dark Horses in 2015, featuring the current line-up.
They are less of the earnest emo band, and now come across like a punky Eskimo Joe or Thirsty Merc, opening up with Battleships from the latest album, before smashing out grown up versions of Streetlight and Where The City Meets The Sea. Matthew Wright’s distinctive voice is still powerful, and more mature, and there are some heavy melodic moments in Flying Colours, from the Requiem album.
Heartstone features huge bass and drums from the Maio boys, behind the guitars of Wright and Clint Owen Ellis, and a soaring vocal before the song just builds and lifts until the piano break, and the multiple layers hit a crescendo. There is Lots of backing tracks and sequencing but it all adds to the power and impact live. Requiem closes the set, with a mellow intro and then the drums kick in with an industrial beat and the whole band lets rip.
The crowd had built to a solid 2,500 or so by the time Alexisonfire took to the stage, and I was blown away by the amazing energy of the whole band, featuring the contrast between the raw power of George Pettit on ‘dirty’ vocals and the pure clean harmonies of Dallas Green which provide the perfect counter to the screams and growls from the frontman. Opening with Drunks Lovers Sinners and Saints, and segueing right into Old Crows, the set featured huge, distorted melodic prog metal guitars, combined with the brutal punk energy and hardcore delivery.
Bassist Chris Steele never stops whirling around the stage, and Jordan Hastings never lets up behind
the kit. There are no frills or gimmicks here, this is all about raw power and excitement, and Pettit continued to demand craziness from the moshpit, and they were willing parties to the carnage the band delivered.
The longer the set went on, more vocal input came from DG, and it really showcased his range and some of the impressive harmonies in the re-worked versions of the old favourites. There is plenty of light and shade through the set, but it soon gets forgotten in the intensity of the straight-out punk numbers, and with cries of “Lets fxxk this place up!!!” the band exited with an encore set of Rough Hands, Crisis, and the classic Young Cardinals.
Welcome back – it was a privilege to be at one of the first shows of the next chapter!
Review and Photos by Peter Coates – Inside Edge Photography – for LifeMusicMedia.com