RBC BluesFest25 – Alexisonfire @ City Stage – July 12, 2019

Hailed as one of Canada’s top indie bands of all time, Alexisonfire continues to have success 20 years after the band’s debut in 2001. Their fan base steadily grows, appealing to all generations because the music they create is significant and current. They have won accolades, namely a Juno in 2005 and they adorn their walls with platinum albums. Although the band took a break in 2012, they reformed in 2015 and have since stayed together, touring the festival circuits and dishing out some tasty shows to their fans. Just an FYI, none of the members in the band is named “Alex”. The band was named after a stripper, who used  “Alexis” as her stage name. 

At their show last night, everyone in the crowd appeared to be hard-core fans as they pushed in herds towards the front of the stage. The venue was packed right up to the entrance. 

When the band entered, lead vocalist Pettit jetted onto the stage literally ripping his shirt off his chest, and the band broke into their hit song, “Accidents”. Pettit is infamous for his wit and humour, saying, “Are you enjoying the soulful music of Aleixisonfire?”

Drummer Hastings, was sporting an Alice in Chains t-shirt, which was no doubt his way of paying tribute to them.

The sound was loud and clean without any distortion or bad feedback. The energy was high and people were jumping up and down, raising their arms into the air.  When they sang “This Could Be Anywhere in the World”, I anticipated seeing people jettison themselves off the stage and into the crowd. But that kind of thing is in the past. One thing that is still very current is the “crowd surfing” action. It was peaking under water sprays (symbolizing beer back in the day) from a giant hose into the crowd. It was so touching and fantastic when a group of fans raised their friend (in a wheelchair) up above the crowd. Pettit instantly signaled them to “crowd surf” him over to the stage and he joined them, wearing an Alexisonfire t-shirt, you knew this kid was a huge fan. He was in awe the whole time he was up there.

It’s so impressive how perfect they sound and how beautifully preserved Pettit’s voice is, despite all these years of “scream-singing”. His clean screams were beautifully in contrast with Green’s gloriously sweet and powerful vocals. This band makes you want to sigh… And then slam dance until you drop from exhaustion! They masterfully bring melody and mayhem together as though they were identical twins.

Alexisonfire is true to their genre and in several aspects, not just the sound. Their music is political, often embedding important messages. They are not just angry, but rather, compassionate and spirited.

Pettit’s final words for the night were expressed as a pertinent message when he said, “this is a safe place regardless of your race, your sexual orientation, the colour of your skin. But, if you are homophobic, or racist, this is not a safe place for you so f*ck off forever!” The crowd roared with approval cheering and whistling.  

Members:

Dallas Green, 

Wade MacNeil

George Pettit  

Chris Steele

Jordan Hastings

Set List:

Accidents

Pulmonary Archery

Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints

Boiled Frogs

Side Walk When She Walk

Rough Hands

Crisis

Familiar Drugs

Control

We Are the End

We Are the Sound

The Northern

Dog’s Blood

Old Crows

This Could Be Anywhere in the World

Young Cardinals

Happiness by the Kilowatt


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