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Alexisonfire - Town Hall, Middlesborough, 18/11/2007

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 23 / 11 / 2007

Alexisonfire - Town Hall, Middlesborough, 18/11/2007


In the unusual surroundings of the Town Hall in Middlesborough, Adrian Huggins finds Canadian hardcore/emo rockers Alexisonfire's performance humorous, but explosive

On a horrible, wet and miserable North East of England Sunday night, Canadian rockers Alexisonfire rolled into town to play Middlesbrough Town Hall as part of their latest UK jaunt. The last time I witnessed Alexisonfire was in February in Newcastle, where I interviewed them and they told me about their plans for the next tour. They said then that it would involve doing some of the other places that a lot of the bigger bands don’t often get to. Well, what better place than Middlesbrough – maybe you better not answer that. I’m sure we’re all above mocking Middlesbrough as it gets plenty of flak as it is. I found parking easily and my car remained intact for the entire four hours I was there, so I have no complaints about the smog capital of Great Britain. The Middlesborough Town Hall, however, is a weird venue. It is just that,a town hall. The week before it had hosted a Roy Orbison tribute act which should give you some impression of the type of place it was. Inside there was, however, plenty of room. The stage was high enough so that everyone had a great view and the sound was fantastic. The room wasn’t as packed as it would be have had it been in a larger city I think, but there were plenty of people to make it a great atmosphere. It is worth mentioning that since I saw the band in Newcastle in February I have listened to them nearly every day, so I was pretty excited to see them, again which also went for the rest of the crowd. When guitarist/vocalist Dallas Green stepped on stage there was a huge roar from the audience. He simply came on the stage with his guitar and started singing 'You Burn First', the slow burner from ‘Crisis’. The rest of the members of the band gradually joined him on stage to a rapturous reception and when the band finally kicked in the roof nearly came off. The song was probably the last song I would have expected the band to open with, but they did it in such a way that is giving me goosebumps even now. Without hardly saying a word the boys from Canada really got the party going by ripping into a typically energetic ‘Boiled Frogs’ which had the whole crowd bouncing and singing along. Then after a few more songs from their latest album, ‘Crisis’, the band played a couple of favourites from ‘Watch Out’ in the form of ‘No Transitory’ and ‘Get Fighted’ – the latter of which was one of my own highlights of the night. They only played one song, 'Pulmonary Archery', from their self –titled debut album which, as it quietly built up, was received with immense enthusiasm and by full-on body flinging madness at the front of the crowd. The banter from the band was as ever what you’d expect from an Alexisonfire show, with lots of laughter and chatter between songs from the group who left the impression that you were watching five friends who were having a hell of a good time and laughing along with you all the way. Reference was made to Middlesbrough being close to Newcastle, at which point Green who seemed to ask this with the best of intentions was met with about 15 cheers and 2000 boos which got a good laugh from the band. They then went on to laugh at how people in England who live 20 minutes away from each other always tend to hate each other, with guitarist Wade McNeill and vocalist George Petit drawing the conclusion that their band would also hate each other if this was the case in Canada. It is this sort of wit and ability to be relaxed and have fun on stage which constantly makes you love this band. And it will be said a thousand times, but it is refreshing to see a band playing such intense music having a laugh at the same time. Alexisonfire played practically every song from ‘Crisis’. The set never let up on energy. Bassist Chris Steele (who this evening looked part cave man and part top shop model with his long hair and mightily impressive beard), and vocalist Petit moved around the stage constantly, neither of them needing any pedals or microphone stands. They claimed that they had never played live ‘To a Friend’. Aired during the encore, it was flawless in its delivery and really worked well in a live setting. As well as being thoroughly entertaining, Alexisonfire are an incredibly tight unit. It is endlessly impressive that while playing with the energy that they do they sound so great live. Playing a few last songs as part of the encore including ‘Accidents’ from ‘Watch Out’, this was yet another great performance from a band that have earned a deservedly strong live reputation. This was genuinely one the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I have not got sick of Alexisonfire despite listening to them so much over the last few months and seeing them performed so well was an absolutely explosive experience. The photographs that accompany this article were taken exclusively for Pennyblackmusic by Katie Anderson

Picture Gallery:-
Alexisonfire - Town Hall, Middlesborough, 18/11/2007

Alexisonfire - Town Hall, Middlesborough, 18/11/2007

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