Alexisonfire Live at The Palace Theatre
Masters of utilising suspense to establish excitement in their audience, Alexisonfire took their time taking the stage – causing Alexis-hungry fans to chant and stomp, making the floor shake before the band had appeared.
When the post-hardcore/progressive rock giants did command the stage, however, it was non-stop action from that moment forward. As frontman George Pettit propelled himself around the stage and stood proudly on the foldback wedges, the other members of the band ensured they equalled his intensity. Refusing to take a background stance, the slightly awkward but inexorably entertaining bassist Chris Steele traversed the whole stage as if he owned it, clapping his hands to encourage the audience until he finally collapsed to the floor at the show’s conclusion.
Alexisonfire’s show at The Palace was the third time the Canadian outfit have visited Australia in two years – but Australian fans seemingly haven’t tired of Alexis as they sang along to newer material from latest album Old Crows/Young Cardinals and reacted well to the title track off of their upcoming EP Dog’s Blood (due out on November 2).
Nonetheless, the biggest crowd pleasers were still older favourites, primarily from their 2006 album Crisis. Drunks, Lovers, Sinners And Saints made the mosh bounce, and This Could Be Anywhere In The World could have been sung purely by the crowd.
Alexisonfire’s appearance was a sold-out event – although it wasn’t the number of audience members that was affecting, so much as the reception the band were receiving from individuals. As the band delivered Rough Hands emotion peaked, dedicated fans sweating along with them.
The crowd were particularly fond of guitarist and singer Dallas Green – with countless people professing their love for him throughout their set. Disappointingly, the sound quality on the night was a little lacking and it was often hard to distinguish Green’s clean vocals amid the other instruments. However, in softer sections of songs they shone through, and we were dazzled by Green’s unique and hauntingly melodic voice as it sailed over and contrasted with Pettit’s gravelly screams and screeches – granting Alexis a signature vocal sound and elevating them above their peers.
Alexisonfire’s visual display more than compensated for any mishaps concerning sound levels. At home on stage, George Pettit was transfixing as he casually slung his mic around his shoulders to chat with the audience before hurling himself back into his songs – ripping off his shirt and seemingly attempting to rip out chunks of his hair with passion.
The performance was heightened by dramatic lighting effects and was aided by an audience member as he leapt from the height of The Palace balcony and into the mosh – causing even the band to pause and exclaim “he did it, he did it!” Still, it’s definitely not to be recommended.
In 2008 rumours circulated that Alexisonfire were to disband, but witnessing the unity the band displayed live disregards the notion entirely. As the band played off one another and Pettit even paused to ruffle Steele’s hair, we witnessed only a steadfast band who’re a captivating live spectacle who have plenty more to give.
They were well supported by Break Even, who were joined by guest guitarist Stu Callinan (Deez Nuts). The Perth act presented energetic performance and deserve be credited for giving their all. As good as they were, however, they were still cast in the shadow of Alexisonfire when they lit up the stage.
Check our Snaps page for images from the gig.