Words and Photos by Joe Calixto
The first time I moved to America from the Philippines, I had this wish list of bands I’d wanna see. Along with The Get Up Kids, Terror, Comeback Kid, Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, Rival Schools, Hopesfall and Glassjaw, I had Canadian heavy hitters Moneen and Alexisonfire on my top 10 must watch bands. It took me a while to even muster the courage to go to shows and a year to finally see Alexisonfire (and luckily enough, Moneen was on that tour)
It was a fucking trip. AOF played the Kung Fu Corner in Agoura Hills, CA. My brother, our friend Neil and I, hopped in my brother’s tiny single cab Toyota truck and drove out to what ended up being a goddamn karate dojo. With padded mats and all. Being new to the states, this was a total surprise to me coz I thought every venue in here looked like Chain Reaction.
I’m not going to go into detail about this show, for fuck sake, it was 2006. But I will say, Hillary Duff was at that show.
After a few years, between the success of City and Colour, Wade McNeal joining the Gallows and other personal reasons with the rest of the band. AOF decided to call it a day in 2011. Announcing a farewell tour. Oh and trust me that shit really bummed me out. But there’s always a big BUT. So let’s talk about that big BUT.
In 2015, after dropping an Instagram post with a random date. The band announced a series of reunion shows at some of the world’s biggest festivals. Part of me was like “Hell Yeah!” but also seeing the dates, it had a single US date. So yeah the other part was like “ah fuck!” Then I saw their live set at Reading/Leeds and got even more bummed coz that was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on Youtube.
Early this year, Alexisonfire teased us with new music and that shit slapped! Releasing a new single called “Familiar Drugs” to the world was probably one of the best things that happened this year, so far. Then they announced a handful of shows that hit major markets like New York, Los Angeles, London, and Toronto. This band sure knows how to hype up a comeback.
The band finally made it back to Los Angeles in what seems to be forever and they couldn’t have picked a better venue than the legendary Wiltern theater. In the heart of LA (and a few blocks from my apartment). The first night of 2 was the added date so, a lot of people who missed out on tickets for the original date got the first crack with the band.
As I rolled onto the venue doors (like literally rolled, I took a Bird scooter) I could see the bright marquee of the Wiltern glow the words Alexisonfire and my excitement level went off the roof. There weren’t many people yet when I got there, but slowly but surely the place was getting packed.
New York’s very own Drug Church opened the show and I can’t think of another band to take on such responsibility. I’m familiar with the band but seems like a lot of the people in the crowd weren’t as acquainted but as their set progressed, it was obvious that more and more people were starting to vibe with their very own brand of hardcore and punk. Plus their frontman, Pat Kindlon’s stage banter is next level. The band put out a record late last year called “Cheer” and that is on heavy rotation on my Spotify, and if you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend it!
Don’t you just love a 2 band bill on a Wednesday night? I sure as hell do! After a quick changeup, the house lights dimmed and the headliner hit the stage. The room was filled, I’m pretty sure the balcony was too (after those $6 tickets came out, it had to be) and the band didn’t waste any time, starting their set with ‘Accidents’. That sent chills down my spine. Alexisonfire was back in Los Angeles!
2 hours of all the hits, all the bangers, shit from Watch Out! to the newer singles. That is how I imagined a band that I haven’t seen in almost a decade would play their set. From that dojo in 2006 to the Wiltern in 2019, it’s safe to say, Alexisonfire still fucking got it!
Check out their latest singles here.
We are the sound. We don’t belong. So raise up your hands and sing along.