Alexisonfire & Luca Brasi @ Fortitude Valley Music Hall
Getting to see a band I never thought I’d be able to see again -a band that I hadn’t seen in years- and to do so at a venue I hadn’t been to before made this a real interesting cross section. As for many people at the Fortitude Valley Music Hall, Alexisonfire were a seminal band for my younger years. As I grew up, their music would grow with me, as would my appreciation for their side projects took up in Alexisonfire's absence.
It was an interesting move by Luca Brasi to use a Man I Feel Like A Woman to warm into their set, but when everyone was singing along to it, it turned out to be a good shout. I still think Whose Beds Have Your Boots Been Under is a better song, but that really hinges on the honky-tonky feel of it. Shania Twain discography aside, I hadn’t seen Luca Brasi since they supported Title Fight at Sun Distortion in 2013 and immediately I’m reminded why I like them so much. I even messaged a mate asking how I could be so stupid as to forget how good the Tassie boys are. Big choruses, earnest lyrics, and enough of a punk edge to carry some otherwise middling alt-rock tunes; they’re just so immensely likeable and that was reflected in the role the crowd played as their backing singers. Every chorus was echoed back to the four on stage, and the wry smiles that broke through was even more infectious. It’s just real fun to see people having fun, you know?
Had Luca Brasi been the headliner for the night, I would have been real chuffed. However, the fifteen-year-old lad playing the entirely of Crisis and Watch Out to death on his iPod Nano would have been absolutely fuming. Alexisonfire tore through their catalogue like a well oiled machine, if that machine was made specifically to produce timeless post-hardcore gems at frightening strike rate. The three pronged vocal attack comes into its own during the live shows. Dallas Green’s voice has always been the drawcard, the little cherry on top of already brilliant songs, but how Wade McNeil’s gruff raspy occupies the lower end while George Pettit howls away like a man possessed is something else. While the new record was good, I felt like songs such as Sans Soleil made more sense when played alongside older material. Its big, anthemic nature would have stood out if it was on the earlier release, much like The Northern. Also, if you’re a band wanting to get some crowd reaction at your shows, just whack a bunch of whoahs, ohhhhs, and the like in because I never realised until tonight how much Alexisonfire employ that tactic and geez, it works every time. Boiled Frogs and Young Cardinals both had those in attendance singing like a choir. A personal favourite of mine, Dog’s Blood, made it into the set list and so, you know, personal win.
We knew the final song would be Happiness By The Kilowatt and indeed it was. They actually added a song within a song, which is one of those fun things about bands jamming out longer numbers. So when the final section of it hit, I was really snapped back into the last few minutes of it, rather than off somewhere else.
I’m left to wonder why a band like Luca Brasi didn’t up grow with me while Alexisonfire did? I thoroughly enjoyed myself through both sets, sang along as much as my little lungs would allow me and was deeply enveloped by the crowd’s energy. Luca Brasi in and of themselves never felt like openers, and given their extensive track record, that's no surprise. The Canadian lads though, I don’t know how to articulate it. They have a way of bypassing any thought-train I’m on and hitting me like a love letter straight to the heart. I thought when they played at Riverstage I'd never see them again. Shit, I never thought I’d see TISM in my life but that happened recently, too. There’s no reason to dwell on these things though. Enjoy them for what they are while they’re in front of you, and hold on to them when they’re not. You’ll be greatly rewarded when you do.
- Matt Lynch.