Alexisonfire – Review

@ Newcastle o2 Academy, November 10 2010

Naming your band after a lactating contortionist porn star may seem a little odd but with Alexisonfire it makes perfect sense.

It gets heads turning, immediately stirs a fuss (even from Alexis Fire herself, who tried to sue) and represents the kinetic bomb of post-hardcore rambunctiousness that epitomises the band.  But when it comes to the big stage, do Alexisonfire really live up to their name?

                     

Clad in all white like some Clorkwork Orange rejects, The Computers have no qualms with the spectacle.  Their solid set of rebellious hardcore began the night, with an unpredictable frontman to entertain alongside a tight, charismatic ensemble.

It’s clear that Leeds based Chickenhawk are another one to watch, after their performance made an impression in a completely different way.  Fearless of experimentation and wielding an unnerving amount of noise, they weld their rapid riffs together in an almost progressive way, and flirt with the occasional off-beat to great effect.

A throbbing heart beat vibrates through the PA system and into every soul in the Academy, like there’s an entity awaiting to reveal itself, though the anticpating crowd don’t yet know what they’re about to encounter.

Young Cardinals was first of a massive queue of stunning renditions.  The popular hit delivered an instantaneous atmospheric rush, and it was from this moment forth that fans really were in the captivating palms of Alexisonfire.  Little did George Pettit have to do to make hundreds of voices belt the epic chorus back his way.

A brilliantly selected set did further justice for each song, with a natural-feeling, collective mix.  If there were any doubts over the new and more experimental EP, then title track Dog’s Blood swiftly silenced cynics with a live performance of the track that simply pervaded the masses in it’s infectiously melodic hardcore skullduggery.

Rattling off Old Crows, Rough Hands and Sons Of Privelege, it really would have been a difficult task to try and not enjoy this gig.  This is made exceptionally more so when there’s continual bombardment on the visual senses to keep things interesting too. Whilst you have Pettit screaming in the possesed wildness of some feline beast in heat, it’s not only the bass playing of Chris Steele that we love to see, but also the non-stop stage antics.

The Northern may be a self-confessed blues song, but striking as the second song of the encore it was perfectly timed before the finale, and gave an opportunity for Dallas Green to showcase some soft solitary vocals.  Green has the beautiful fragility of Robert Smith (The Cure) in his voice, yet his style merges sublimely with the heftier songs too, providing one polished side of the yin and yang balance between him and Pettit, with the latter yelping furiously at the other end.

If we go by anything we’ve heard from the new EP, then there’s a good chance we’re going to hear more diversity in the road ahead.  But regardless of the exciting speculation of what’s to come, there’s confidence all round that Alexisonfire will deliver.  It might be with logic or with twisted reason, but I’m glad they kept that ol’ band name.

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