This is a monumental comeback tour for emo fans everywhere. It may not be the first time Alexisonfire have picked up their instruments again to treat the ageing scene kids to a concert that makes them feel young again, but this time round the band come prepared with new material in the form of their first album in thirteen years, Otherness.
But before the Canadian post-hardcore veterans unveil their new setlist, the audience of o2 Academy Brixton have the pleasure of their first of two support bands, Higher Power. Hailing from Leeds (although you wouldn’t know it, based on vocalist Jimmy Wizard’s affected US accent), the relative newcomers are following in the footsteps of Turnstile, with their 90s inspired take on modern hardcore. While the band clearly enjoyed performing at what must be one of their biggest crowds, the response is mildly warmer than apathetic.
Boston Manor, whose new record Datura is barely a week old at the time of performance, personify all one could want from a support band. A set bursting with catchy anthems that are the perfect blend of heavy and fun, the Blackpool lads leave out slower songs in favour of showing the audience a good time. With a light show that risks upstaging the headliners, Boston Manor have the potential to return to Brixton with their name on the banner outside.
Alexisonfire waste no time in getting the audience hyped. Opening with a one-two hit of ‘Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints’ and ‘Boiled Frogs’, one might forget that the band are promoting a new album. In fact, a third of their setlist consists of tracks from Crisis, playing to their strengths while giving the crowd what they want. New tracks ‘Sweet Dreams of Otherness’ and ‘Sans Soleil’ provide a slower, sludgier counterpart to the pop-punky nature of earlier compositions, proving that the band can craft good songs regardless of tempo (or maybe the songs are slower to give the ageing punk rockers a break!).
The main set closes with the crowd drowning out the band in the chorus of ‘Young Cardinals’, proving that their often overlooked fourth record still has some gems worth investigating. Alexisonfire of course return with an encore (they’d yet to play ‘This Could Be Anywhere in the World’, they’re obviously coming back on!), topping off a greatest hits setlist with both new and old tracks, all of which are received with a rabid response, proving that they are the only band ever.