Alexisonfire

support Johnny Truant + Blood Roses
author PP date 29/10/05 venue Mean Fiddler, London, UK

"Why dye your hair black, comb half of it to the side, wear black makeup all over and look exactly the same as the other 500 scenesters at the venue. What's the point in it? It's not like the band comes on with jeans so tight they hurt, with messed up hair-style/color. So why do they do it?" was a question asked by my friend at the queue to the Alexisonfire gig. Or something towards that, at least. And he's got a very valid point. I'm slowly but surely getting irritated as hell over this idiocy known as being 'scene' and dressing up accordingly. How is it being 'scene' if the bands dont do it themselves? Most of the queue to Mean Fiddler consisted of annoyingly loud, underaged, drunk losers, on whom the miracle of life is so utterly wasted on.

Johnny Truant

Anyways to the point. Didn't have time to see Blood Roses (sorry!), so i'll start out with describing Johnny Truants set - one that always raises the bar to their fellow hardcore colleguaes by being, simply said, fucking insane. Much like Beecher's frontman, Johnny Truant frontman Olly never seizes to surprise me by being one of the most mental vocalists I have experienced live. Previously I saw them supporting Bullet For My Valentine in February, and this time around their set was twice as explosive, and thrice as mean than last time. "Lets make tonight a metal show", were Ollys first and last words before raising the temperature of Mean Fiddler up to the 30s with a song that gives a whole new meaning to the word hardcore.

By their third song, the crowd was exhausted and bruised, but still a damn happy bunch. And the joy continued when Olly separated the crowd into two equal parts from the middle, to create a wall of death. What this meant was that both sides backed as far away from each other as possible, and waited until the first breakdown of the song, only to run at full speed towards each other fists ready to kill. I was more than surprised that no injuries, let alone deaths, occurred during the wall of death episode. From the sideline, describing it in mild terms, it looked more than suicidal. Similar events occurred throughout the set, with the band encouraging people to circle faster and faster in the pits, causing as much damage as possible. It would've made my day if some of those scene kids had been in the middle of that, getting punched in the face, but the pussies they are in reality, they were on the sidelines (I really don't like them.).

The stage wasn't any more peaceful than the crowd. In fact, it was quite the opposite. All you could see from their bassist was hair, hair and more hair flowing all over the place. But no matter how much he and the guitarist moved, all attention was stolen by their vocalist Olly. One second he'd be jumping across the stage, leaning in a rainbow/bridge-style shape backwards growling into the mic, and next moment he'd be rushing against the barrier separating the crowd, screaming into the mic while being literally hugged by at least 5-6 fans at the same time. The next moment he'd kneeling in front of the drumkit, only to fall down on his back during a long, desperate growl or scream. What Johnny Truant showed today on stage was some of the best showmanship the hardcore scene has to offer.

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Alexisonfire

After Johnny Truant's assiduous performance, it was hard to believe Alexisonfire could do much better than that. But my God, did they put up a show tonight. And as their frontman George Logan stated: "This is the last show on the tour, lets make it memorable". Not only was this their first headlining tour in the UK, but it was also their best show out of the three times I've seen them this year. And as little as I believed it was going to happen, Alexisonfire was even MORE active on stage than Johnny Truant. George, dressed in a t-shirt and way, way too short shorts, was all over the place just like Olly earlier, and Jesse & Chris moved around the stage like they were bare foot on hot coals. Once they started "No Transitory", it looked like they were being overshadowed by Johnny Truant, but this thought only lasted until the band reached the first screamed out vocals of "Get Fighted", complimented by a stupendously big combination jump by all of the band members, who had luck on their side, for otherwise they would've crashed into each other mid air. From this moment on, the gig was absolutely amazing. Alexisonfire is one of those bands who you just know are genuine when they say "This is the best gig so far on this tour". George's face shined of happiness and joy when he saw the huge circle pits during the infamous lyrics "My greatest gift to you is a dance floor" of "Get Fighted". During "Control", he was taking photographs of the crowd, dancing, giving out high-fives to the crowd surfers, and just generally seemed like the happiest guy on the planet right now. And with a crowd like tonight's, it didn't surprise me at all.

Everything went spot on tonight. The sound quality was amazing, and "44 Caliber Love Letter" was much faster than on the record, speeding up the circle pits and the air-guitar moves within the crowd. Speaking of guitars, a strange episode took place just before "Waterwings", when Wade Preston, with a huge grin on his face, addressed someone in the crowd: "What are you on about? You gave me a sticker of System Of A Down, and now you want my guitar pick, I don't quite understand your strategy here. But here's what's gonna happen, i'm gonna wrap my pick into the sticker and pass them both back to you!". It's small events like these that make Alexisonfire so special to watch live; there's always something strange going on. For instance, in between of the songs, George kept thanking everyone on the tour: Blood Roses, Johnny Truant, rowdies, crew members, managers, and God knows who else for so long, that Dallas and co had to stop him, and break straight into a song to keep within the timelimits. The cool thing was, that it was 200% clear that he genuinely wanted to thank all these people, and that he had no enemies on this tour. And the crowd, of course, received the biggest thanks for supporting the band all the way. These guys are more down to earth than any other band I know, and it really makes the audience feel special. Maybe this is also why there were no pirated t-shirts onsale outside of the venue, despite the clear weather outside.

The two new songs tonight were really good, I fell in love with "No Title" as soon as I heard it. It's good to hear that the band hasn't changed their trademark clean/screamo vocal mix, as "No Title" sounded like something in between "Alexisonfire" and "Watch Out" songs. Overall, tonight was amazing, and it proved at least one thing. If Alexisonfire comes near your town, and you don't go see them, you are an idiot and I will personally arrange for your brutal assassination.

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