Compared to a lot of people, I'm a very casual Alexisonfire fan since I've never entirely fallen in love with any of their records. But the show they played at the Burton Cummings on December 9th, 2007 with Anti-Flag, Saosin and The Bled is still one of the best shows I've seen in my life. And the main reason why is because of the amazing encore where Alexisonfire invited everyone on stage for one massive sing along. Everyone was totally engaged and before long the guys made their way into the crowd giving high-fives. And George decided the people in the first balcony needed some fun too so he basically hoisted himself up there. If you've never been to that venue, it's hard to explain, but let's just say he was lucky he didn't fall and crack his head open. Never before have I experienced a moment like that at a show and three years later I still look back on it with a smile. These guys were playing an old, seated, plush theatre, but they made it feel like a small, intimate, basement show anyway. This show was still good, but it was lacking that grand finale. Kids still came on stage, even though George picked them up and threw them back a lot of the time and it just wasn't the same. Last time not a single person was seated, this time some of the crowd was lacking that enthusiasm. Especially in the first balcony where I was, almost everyone was seated and that was not the case for NOFX in April.
When you discount all of that though, you still have a solid set and a tight performance from the band. They played for an hour and a half opening with "Young Cardinals" and closing with their hit "This Could Be Anywhere in the World." In between "Dog's Blood," "We Are The Sound," and "Rough Hands" were just some of the songs they played. Again the encore proved to be one of the set's highest points. They dusted off an old favourite, "Water Wings," from my obsessive MuchMusic watching days. And for "Accidents" Kenny Bridges from Moneen made a guest appearance and did the vocals. It was a very suprising treat from the split the two bands did many years ago.
There are lots of bands that I don't get live. Norma Jean is one of them and I expect to get a lot of hate for it. They didn't sound awful, I just can't get into that type of music and their set did nothing to convince me otherwise.
La Dispute are a band I've been excited to see and I hope Winnipeg treated them well and someone was able to put them up for the night. Sadly they had some sound problems when the vocals cut out, but they just shrugged it off and kept on playing anyway. And even more sadly, they looked out of place for a lot of their set. It's probably because they aren't used to playing to a large crowd sitting in seats and staring at them, but still. They chose a good set and it was nice to finally see "Said the King to the River" live.
Went to the show last night, here's my take on it:
After playing a surprise show just weeks earlier at a small bar called The Albert, it's weird to see them move up behind a gigantic barridade at the MTS Centre. They still killed it though, as they kicked off their shorter set with "Hail Destroyer" and played other tracks like "Lucifer's Rocking Chair," "Pneumonia Hawk" and of course their Beastie Boys cover "Sabotage" among others. The venue was still pretty empty for their set, but the ones that made an effort to show up early didn't seem let down at all. The interview with Liam went well, expect it in 2-3 weeks along with the one with Alan from Four Year Strong. I was told that a headlining tour will be happening around this fall so get excited for that!
It took me awhile to really appreciate Against Me! and Tom Gabel's voice, but once I did I was hooked. Because of this, I also missed them when they've come through in the past so it was nice to finally see them. With the awesome album art for White Crosses hanging, they walked on to "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and tore right into "Rapid Decompression." Even though it just leaked, they played a lot more new songs than I was expecting. Even "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" which totally made me smile. They are one of the few bands that truly sound better live than on recordings and it made up for the fact that they barely talked to the crowd:
I saw this band headline the Burton Cummings Theatre in 2007 and near the end it turned into a gigantic party. They invited everyone on stage, ran through the crowd and George even climbed up to the second balcony, without using the stairs. I have never seen a band get the crowd so involved and create such an intimate performance. They simply played last night though and while I'm not surprised at all, I know that this band can be capable of a much more with a longer set and a better venue. That's my only complaint however, they still sounded great and stuck to a lot of their newer stuff. They still haven't headlined Canada in support of Old Crows/Young Cardinals so it made sense:
There were lots of kids and parents at the show last night waiting for this band and it kind of reminded me of when I saw Billy Talent back in 2003 when I was in grade 7. Mind you, their debut wasn't released and I was there for Sum 41 but still, it's a much different vibe than the shows I usually go to. You can hate on Billy Talent for making the same record all you want, but I'm happy to see how far they've gone. At least in Canada, the United States still hasn't caught on to one of our most popular bands. And really, no other band even comes close to sounding like them.
Anyway, they kicked off the show with "Devil in a Midnight Mass." Ben is still an amusing frontman and I like how he's not afraid to talk to the crowd. He held up an 87 jersey and talked about Canada taking the gold for hockey, just as an example. And someone in the pit brought a Canadian flag with them and was holding it up so that was pretty awesome. Of course, the MTS Centre started to get crazy too. I guess a man punched a woman in the face and I'm not surprised at all. Whenever you go to that arena, you can be assured people will get hurt.
The highlight was probably when Tom Gabel from Against Me! came up to sing "Turn Your Back" with Ben. He said that never happened before, but I think he was just saying that. Anyone confirm? The lights and stuff were basic and just OK. Ian added on an awesome, slightly longer solo to "Devil On My Shoulder," the second last song of the night so that was cool. Anyway, here is the set list: