It was summertime in Toronto and I had just flopped down on my patio chair after an uneventful day at school. Pulling out my Blackberry and checking the latest on Facebook, I noticed a friend of mine had posted a status update that deserved a second read through. A sickening feeling came over me when I read that Alexisonfire, a group of five hardcore dudes from St. Catharines, Ont., (who easily changed my life), were parting ways. In a moment, I ran inside my house, grabbed my laptop, and connected to the band’s website – www.theonlybandever.com.
Lead vocalist George Pettit’s words hit me like a brick wall – members of the band had greater interest in pursuing new projects, their breakup was not amicable, and a slight possibility of reunion shows was to be slated throughout Canada. But I knew that Alexisonfire was no more. I had the pleasure of attending – what I soon realized – was their last show at the Sound Academy in Toronto that past December. The energy alone was reassurance enough that Alexisonfire wasn’t going anywhere, but eight months later, I was wrong. I closed my laptop and completely broke down.
Fast forward to this summer, almost a year after that website statement, and a Farewell Tour had been announced with four (!!) shows slated for Toronto. I broke down yet again.
Since I purchased my tickets, I’ve been counting down the days until I see Alexisonfire perform again. The beginning of this month was especially exciting after the release of their final EP, Death Letter. A haunting take on some of my favourite AOF songs that signify a great end to a great band. Bassist Wade MacNeil (present frontman of U.K. hardcore band, The Gallows) and vocalist/guitarist Dallas Green (currently making music as City & Colour), really came together to produce a beautiful rendition of tracks from 2009’s Old Crows/Young Cardinals, 2006’s Crisis, and 2004’s Watch Out!. There are definitely more nods to the melodic acoustics of City & Colour that may put fans on either side of the fence. But, in the ten years that have spanned AOF’s career, Death Letter truly is the swan-song for a post-hardcore band that changed the face of Canadian music.
So make sure you love /
Like you’ve never been hurt /
And when you dance, dance /
Like there’s no one watching you /
Oh, cause this shit’s not about pants /
And this shit’s not about shirts /
And this shit’s definitely not about hair /
This shit is about having a good fucking time /
Maybe the music isn’t dead /
Maybe we all just forgot what it fucking sounded like. . . .
Alexisonfire, thank you for the memories. See you at the show.