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.