Talking music with Alexisonfire

In a concert put on by the A-Team last Friday night, Alexisonfire – a band slotted almost annually for Laurier concerts – performed to a pumped up, and at times hostile, Turret.

From the moment they walked on stage at 10:55 p.m. they had amazing energy; particularly vocalist George Pettit and bassist Chris Steele who, for the entire show, were both jumping around like sweaty kangaroos.

The crowd responded by creating a sea of moshers, dancers, crowd-surfers and screamers.

Throughout the show, Pettit performed various feats of strength such as bending the microphone stand over his shoulders and tearing off his shirt to reveal an indiscernible tattoo over his left pectoral.

The audience’s reaction altered little from the already exalted adoration.

At one point in the show, an audience member near the front of the stage yelled out that Alexisonfire was better before Dallas Green joined, the band’s vocalist and guitarist.

Pettit responded by dumping a bottle of water on his head and aggressively claiming, “Dallas could bite your ear off!”

During their set, Alexisonfire performed fan favorites such as “Accidents”, “Boiled Frogs”, and “No Transitory”, as well as hits from their new album Old Crows/Young Cardinals such as “Young Cardinals” and “Born and Raised” – making for an overall incredible performance.

The meaning of these songs was summarized by guitarist and vocalist Wade MacNeil in just a few ideas during an interview with The Cord before the show.

“George Bush is an alien, LSD makes your penis bigger, no Olympics on stolen native land.” Whether or not these statements come across in their music is debatable.

The band’s sound is now considered hardcore rock, but during their interview with The Cord, MacNeil described the evolution of Alexisonfire’s musical signature, stating, “When we started, we were definitely interested in being a screamo band [but] I think the word screamo has changed and now it is associated more with swoop haircuts and tight girl jeans. We’re not too preoccupied with what they call us anymore, we just do our thing.”

To this idea, Steele added, “Our first album was a lot of hard stuff. We thought it was uncool to repeat a chorus, or even have a chorus. We’d just have a bunch of parts, put a title to it, and called it a song.

“There’d be Wade and Dallas battling against each other with sick guitar riffs, me playing lead bass twelfth fret and higher.”

After listening to their new album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals, it is clear that this is no longer the case. With this album they have branched out and reached a new maturity level while still maintaining Alexisonfire’s signature appeal.

It seems that they are able to do this because they vent their “non-Alexis” energy elsewhere, as many of the band members are part of other alterna-genre bands as well, namely Dallas Green’s City and Colour and MacNeil and Pettit’s Black Lungs.

However, to all of these guys, Alexisonfire always comes first.

“This is what we all live for, this is what we all love,” said MacNeil.

Opening the show at Turret was Vicious Cycle, a hardcore punk group who played a 30-minute set.

Their performance was strong with the exception of vocalist, Taus. Though it is difficult to pinpoint what was wrong, as he had great energy and stage presence, the band would have sounded better with a different lead vocalist.

One audience member commented that, “[Taus] wasn’t screaming and he wasn’t singing either; he was just sort of making sounds.”

Despite this, Vicious Cycle was relatively well received by much of the audience as demonstrated by moshers and hands in the air.