Home Gigs Gig Review: Alexisonfire @ Barrowland, Glasgow

Gig Review: Alexisonfire @ Barrowland, Glasgow

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Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

The Candian post hardcore heroes are back in Glasgow once more to lay down devastation and own the city.

First up tonight on this three-band tour is Higher Power. The punk Hardcore band from Leeds were playing to a half full hall due to the early start time and somehow did not get the crowd going. The effort was there but it all seemed a bit flat.

With two albums under their belt and a lot of hype there still seemed to be no connection with the crowd which is a shame as the boys tried their best and definitely put on a show, maybe it was just the wrong gig for them.

Boston Manor were a tale of the above but I have no idea why. The famous Barras was starting to fill up when they appeared on stage but there seemed to be a bit of Apathy going on. Apart from a decent crowd on the barrier everyone was going about their business and not really paying attention to the incredible show being put on right in front of their eyes.

I don’t know if Alexisonfire have become that large their fans are their fans and thats the niche they sit in…but as a gig goer for more than four decades that pisses me off. I always ensure I am there for support bands. I cannot even count the amazing support bands I have seen and now follow without fail…and I can assure you Boston Manor are now on that list.

The boys from Blackpool kicked off with “Carbon Mono” and instantly I was hooked. There are a few genres banded about with this band but I am just going to say energetic mutherfuckers.

“Desperate Measures” was next up and after the barrage of an opening Henry Cox blasts his vocals at you with power, depth and clarity whilst the chaos ensues behind him.

The five piece do not have much room to maneuver on stage but that didn’t keep them rooted to the ground, hell no, they were all over the place and were taking everything in with huge smiles on their faces.

The Nirvana esche opening of “Passenger” soon lets way to an almost dance banger and as much as I hate to say these words in print…Lost Prophets came to mind(only for musical reasons I state this very definitively). No matter what happened with that band they wrote some incredible songs and I think this was why I was instantly drawn to Boston Manor…they have that sprinkling of something special and this song is one of the reasons why.

I am watching this thinking I have some serious purchases to make, the first and instantly done after the show was a t-shirt and vinyl and the rest would be upon the train home. The three other albums were bought and I sat on the 45 minute journey home scouring youtube.

My favourite of those found videos was the next song up in “Crocus” and followed up with the much heavier “You, Me & the Class War” and as you would expect from that title we have some extreme aggression and an outstanding number, even if the band could not entice a decent mosh pit.

The boy’s set was finished off with two huge numbers in “Foxglove” and “Halo”. For me a set that was way to short and a crowd reaction that was far too mute. This band kicked ass, they shook things up and they demanded attention even if they did not get it.

I will put money on the fact this band will be going places. They will slot in with the rock and Metal crowd but quite easily into the harder indie crowd but at the end of the day we have to bow down to the intellect, wit and divinity of God(Lemmy) and say it is all Rock’n’Roll and Boston Manor are all that with fucking bells on people. Do not miss them on this tour.

Hands up time, I have never seen Alexisonfire live before(well I am sure they were at a festival I was at but a drunken haze has that blotted out). So, as a virgin what were my first impressions? These guys are mental, aren’t they Canadians? They are meant to be nice, cordial, not outspoken and basically pacafistic…nothing could be further from the truth.

I have a vision in my head that Canadian’s would be like Spartan parents whose offspring were weak or deformed, if a Canadian kid was a bit of an upstart they would be right off that cliff. The only way around this that I can think of is they cheated the gruesome death was by saying they were going to be ice hockey players and then ran headlong into a music store.

Whatever their journey has been I am grateful as they blew me away tonight. From opening number “Accidents” until those lights came on at the end I was in awe of the talent, craziness and incredible songs not to mention the lightshow. This was an all round experience and one that the sold out show reveled in.

Having the three vocalists has your neck bouncing all over the place and trying to keep an eye on Chris Steele’s antics on bass is impossible. That man is Flea on speed which is seriously obvious on “Boiled Frogs”.

As we get into song number three in “Sans Soleil” the pace is slowed down as if to give the crowd surfers a break as it has been chaos already…especially if you are trying to take photos with one eye on getting a boot to the back of the head.

This number was a welcome island in turbulent seas but everyone is happy to get right back into it on “Mailox Arson”. The aggression is lifted, the vocals spat with venom and the spectacle is magnificent, from front to back the crowd is totally focused. There is no one paying less than 100% attention.

There is another let up on “Sweet Dreams of Otherness” which touches on a proggy metal trip, which lead onto “Rough Hands” with the tickling of ivories, haunting guitars and a journey all of its own.

The run in to the Encore is unforgiving and adrenalin pumping but nothing prepared you for “This Could Be Anywhere in the World” and “Happiness” to close. Tonight I felt like I was hit by a freight train but like some deranged masochist I am smiling ear to ear.

Alesisonfire were incredible tonight, a band that owned the stage and the crowd. The boys know Glasgow well, they have played from the famous King Tuts, the Academy to the very much missed ABC and now they have laid waste to and outgrown The Barras all in one show.

They can only grow which means The Hydro next time around and with the performance I witnessed tonight only stadiums and festival headline slots could contain them. The Candian post hardcore heroes are back in Glasgow once more to lay down devastation and own the city.

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