Live Review: Alexisonfire, The Getaway Plan, Behind Crimson Eyes, The Dirty Nil

18 January 2017 | 1:23 pm | Natasha Pinto

"This guy could probably sing random pages from the dictionary..."

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If you were to close your eyes and listen to The Dirty Nil¸ you probably wouldn't guess that there are only three guys on stage. Wrestle Yu To Husker Du is one of the strongest points of their set and, after a quick message from lead singer Luke Bentham — who tells us that the band will be performing a gig later tonight at Cherry Bar — a few groups of punters are heard discussing heading down there for round two. They've obviously made a good impression.

There's an intense cinematic church choir track playing as white lights flash dimly on the stage, highlighting two big Behind Crimson Eyes banners. Drummer Dan Kerby starts off while the rest of the band strolls on and settles in. These guys are all totally energetically invested in making their stage presence entertaining, but extra kudos goes to Kerby who even stands up a few times mid-song to pump up the crowd a little more. Shakedown and The Art Of War are both met with a ton of audience support and, before you know it, a circle pit opens up — the ultimate evidence of approval, clearly.

The Getaway Plan are really right. Whatever they've been doing in the past few years after their hiatus from 2009 - 2010 is working. Lead vocalist Matthew Wright is one hell of a singer and is pretty much note-perfect throughout the set. Not to mention he's totally mastered the art of the hair flip, his luscious locks catching the flashing blue lights as the band launch into Shadows. As expected, punters scream along ridiculously passionately to Where The City Meets The Sea, belting out every word; no doubt, plenty of teen dreams are fulfilled while singing along to this 2008 smash hit. Requiem brings their set to a close on a total high. There's room for all four musicians to shine in this one: intense drums, great vocals, good bass line and a tasty little guitar solo in the middle.

The crowd is absolutely buzzing as the seconds tick by and we draw closer to the time when Alexisonfire step on stage. After their decision to part ways in 2011 and a farewell tour in 2012, an Australian tour in 2015 would definitely have come as a (welcome) shock to fans, but our time is now and you can really feel the anticipation in the room tonight. They open with This Could Be Anywhere In The World and are met with a sea of raised arms and a choir of voices screaming their lungs out during the chorus. Their break-up has seemingly had no effect on their musical dynamic as a band. They sound as sharp as ever and their passion on stage is truly on another level — a level that is reached as a result of years of experience performing together. Dallas Green's vocals are as lush as can be. This guy could probably sing random pages from the dictionary and still manage to strike an emotional chord within most. Bassist Chris Steele steals the limelight with his incomparable stage presence. George Pettit's gritty, raw screams layered on top of Wade MacNeil's screeching guitar and Jordan Hastings' brutal drumming is far from a gentle reminder, rather more like a punch in the face as to why these guys have been so loved by fans for so many years. Rough Hands is beautiful, 44 Caliber Love Letter turns punters in the circle pit into a shirtless sweaty mess and the end of Young Cardinals sees the beginning of the obligatory encore chanting.

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Before this last portion of the night, Green takes the time to say, "There is no way we'll ever be able to truly thank you," and, just as a few punters are spotted quickly wiping a tear, Alexisonfire head straight into The Northern. A few songs later and Pettit's changing in and out of countless T-shirts, ripping them up and throwing them out into the eager pit of punters. Happiness By The Kilowatt is the most wonderfully nostalgic moment of the night and, with guitars still blaring, the band leave instruments behind, exchange a few hugs and take one last look out at the roaring crowd. We'll eagerly await their return. Until next time (we hope).