In August 2011 the post hardcore and screamo world were shocked when Alexisonfire finally decided to throw in the towel and call it a day. Wade McNeil quickly opted to front English punk rockers Gallows where as Dallas Green opted to focus on his solo City and Colour project, leaving the other three members lost and their thousands of fans shocked.
Due to high demand though it was announced earlier this year that Alexisonfire would be doing one last world tour to say good bye to their fans and give the band who opened the door for so many alternative acts. This tour included two nights at Brixton Academy in London.
I would say that Alexisonfire got me into heavy music and made me believe that although I am not the most musically inclined I can play in a band. I remember hearing their 2004 album “Watch Out” and not being able to recall when I had heard something so heavy yet so melodic before in my life.
After a beer fuelled trip to the capital which included many ups and downs including several ticket issues, I was finally in the venue drinking beer that was far too expensive and as flat as a witch’s tit. Up first on stage opening were The Ghost of a Thousand who had reformed to play two last shows with their Canadian counterparts.
The Ghost of a Thousand gave it their all, pulling out all the stops. Front man Tom Lacey was in and out of the crowd through out their site and when he wasn’t he was striding across the stage topless. Although it’s sad to see a British band like The Ghost of a Thousand call it a day it was obvious that everyone here was mainly hear for Alexisonfire.
Twenty minutes after T.G.O.A.T leave the stage the room goes black and the stage is lit by one light, which gleams faint sepia colour across the stage and room. Through the shadow we can five silhouettes walk across the stage to their respective instruments. The time that everyone has waited for in the room has come.
The first chord of the introduction hits and the lights come on. There they are, the band I have admired for years on the stage. Despite being happy from his moment and until the end of the set I feel a deep sadness in the back of my head and the pit of my stomach.
This set is filled with hit after hit, taking songs from all of their albums as well as tracks from EP’s they have released over the years as well as B-sides. It didn’t matter what AOF album is your favourite as this set had something for everyone and their was no letting up. For a band of this genre to play a set consisting of 23 songs is impressive but to do this on two consecutive nights is something else.
There is little talk from the band as it is obvious they want to let the music do the talking, but there are a handful of thank yous between some songs. Every word uttered from the George Pettits mouth is taken with a grain of salt and then cheered as although he is an amazing front man it is blatant that this man does not want to say good bye to the band that has made him.
Tonight every song means something to someone and this is obvious with how loud the crowd sing the lyrics to “We Are The Sound” back at the band. I can say that I have been to hundreds of live concerts in my life but nothing compares to this for crowd participation. It seems like only a couple of minutes but suddenly the band walk off stage and as I look at my watch I realised ninety minutes have passed us by.
The room suddenly explodes with AOF chants and clapping before the guys come back out and play an encore consisting of three songs. The Northern, Dogs Blood and Happiness by the Kilowatt are the last songs to be heard live by a British audience.
As the last chord of Happiness by the Kilowatt rings out the lights slowly go up and the band stand in a line in front of the crowd of this sold out show and do the classic embrace and bow you would expect from cheesy acts such as Bon Jovi but for once there is nothing cringe worthy about this show of respect.
As the band walk off stage, the entire house lights come on and people begin to depart from the venue the once avid crowd is now a wash with sad and despondent faces. It is true that their idols are now no longer a working unit but we will always have the records to remember them by.
In my eyes Alexisonfire will always be the band who got me into aggressive music that had a fire behind it but was played with grace as well as tenacity. We will always have their CD’s to remember one of Canada’s finest exports and although I don’t think they will ever properly reform I’m going to opt for saying never say never. 9.1/10