As I sauntered along the “Amber Mile” (the stretch of road from Central Station to Moore Park), my mind began to wander, recalling many of the great musical moments I’ve been fortunate enough to witness at the Hordern Pavilion over the last twenty odd years. And, with Canadian post-hardcore legends Alexisonfire playing the iconic venue tonight, I kept asking myself….am I about to witness another?
So with a sense of sweaty anticipation, I arrived early, keen to take in the atmosphere, and check out the support bands.
Opening up was another Canadian band, Ontario three-piece The Dirty Nil. An interesting choice of support for a post-hardcore show, their music is straight-up rock ’n roll. Nonetheless, with their fat, distorted sound they indulged the early birds with tracks from their 2016 album Higher Power, including No Weaknesses, Zombie Eyed, Friends In The Sky, and set highlight, Fucking Up Young. Guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham did his best to keep the energy up, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t win over at least a few new fans.
Next up, it was Melbourne’s Behind Crimson Eyes. While I’ve never really gotten into them (more a reflection of my personal taste, not the band), their live show was impressive. They’ve mastered their craft through years of touring, and have landed some notable support slots (including Iron Maiden and Bullet For My Valentine), as well as countless festival appearances. Opening with Sex, Lies And Homicide from 2006 album A Revelation For Despair, it didn’t take long for the band to be firing on all cylinders. They played some newer tracks from 2016 album Scream Out Your Name To The Night, including The Art Of War, The Game Of Life, and The Black Veil. They threw in some older stuff too, such as Shakedown and The Bonesmen, which both got a big cheer from the BCE faithful (and there were a few of them!).
With the punters beginning to pile in, Melbourne alternative rockers The Getaway Plan arrived at an energetic greeting. Having never seen them previously, I’d only heard good things, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Battleships and Streetlight got the crowd going, but it was the slower, more powerful songs such as Dark Horses, and Where The City Meets The Sea that was the standouts, while the closer, Requiem ensured that they finished on a high.
With the Hordern now heaving, and the crowd primed, it was time for the main act. When the house lights went down, an ecstatic cheer echoed through the joint, and when the stage lights came on all hell broke loose. From the opening beat of Drunks, Lovers, Sinners And Saints to the closing note of Happiness By The Kilowatt, the entire audience just went nuts, jumping, moshing, and screaming along with the band. Feeding off each other through Old Crows, We Are The Sound, Boiled Frogs and Crisis, it was like a game of one-upmanship between the band and the fans. The group went crazy on stage, challenging the crowd to respond, and respond they did by going even crazier.
They kept the intensity going with Mailbox Arson, 44. Calibre Loveletter, and Young Cardinals, and came back for FOUR encores, with the best of them being Accidents, which once again had the whole venue singing at the top of their lungs.
Tonight, not only did Alexisonfire prove that they are still an amazing live band, they’ve set a very high standard for the remainder of 2017!
The Getaway Plan
Behind Crimson Eyes
The Dirty Nil
The Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
19 January 2017
Review by: Greg Smith
Photography by: Kieran Thorn