Tonight is all about winding back the clock and Behind Crimson Eyes do a pretty good job of it playing their brand of post-hardcore emo tracks which are mostly firmly rooted in the mid 2000’s. The crowd is relatively small but building as the punters filter through the gates in drips and drabs but the band are armed with their game faces and an arsenal of very recognisable singles from years ago like Shakedown and The Bonesmen that are played flawlessly and with passion. I admire that. Fantastic show.
Next up on this trip down memory lane are Melbournites, The Getaway Plan. Early appearances of Streetlight and Where The City Meets The Sea from their ARIA charting debut album, 2008’s Other Voices, Other Rooms definitely turned a few heads and got much of the crowd’s attention and from then on it was up to the band’s boundless energy and a swag of new and old post-hardcore tracks holding the throng to the foot of the stage.
Alexisonfire first graced these shores back in 2005 and it’s been a love story ever since. They played the Arena in the Valley and played one of those legendary shows that you talk about for years and no matter how many times you see the band, they struggle to top that initial eruption of a band in their prime tearing a stage to shreds. Well, that changes tonight.
Epic is the best way I can describe this show. Everything about it was just epic. The lights, the sound, the stage presence. Even the hot chips from the food carts at the top of the hill are epic.
There is no way you could have walked away from this set with your mind still intact. Alexis take to the stage with their signature explosive energy ripping straight into the precision opening of Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints the opening track from their 2006 album Crisis. The band go on to play a set which is clearly dedicated to long lasting fans that spans their entire career.
Everything from 2002’s self-titled album right through to their 2010 EP Dogs Blood, the set cannot be faulted and the band leaves nothing in the tank. Then 10 years since they played that show at the Arena has served them well, they are tighter and more explosive than ever to the point that it’s hard to imagine that these guys even had a hiatus.
The crowd at the front are going insane and frontman George Pettit tells them to “open it up” and a massive circle-pit builds up to the strains of the aggressive Mailbox Arson setting the tone for the rest of the show. The band finish up the set proper with Young Cardinals and it’s played like an anthem. The crowd are louder here than at any other time as Dallas Green tells us to “wake up the neighbours” and George screams for the crowd to sing. The band stops and all you can hear is the whole of the Riverstage screaming the words “Oh, Young Cardinals”. It’s spine tingling.
The boys take a moment off stage to recoup, making their way back to start the encore off with The Northern before the solid crowd-pleaser Accidents, the more sedate Polaroids of Polar Bears before rounding out the show with Happiness by the Kilowatt. George uses his remaining energy to break every microphone stand on stage. Bending them over his shoulders and closing them in half while guitarist Wade straps and tapes his guitar to his amp, leaving a stage blasting feedback into the crowd.
This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time. Everything went right. Everything was spot on. I already said this once, but I cannot this stress enough: You cannot fault that set.
REVIEW: Christian Stanger
IMAGES: Dan Maynard Photography