Monday night saw Canadian rockers Alexisonfire pack out Southampton Guildhall at a sold out show. This tour sees Alexisonfire on a UK tour for the first time in two years, and the excitement amongst fans was instantly noticeable.
The Ghost Of A Thousand were on hand to open the show, but unfortunately for them half the crowd (including me) were still outside trying to get in when they hit the stage at 7.30pm. The staff at the Guildhall seemed to be on a go-slow that night as it took a further 15 minutes to get into the venue, and there were still hundreds of fans outside eagerly awaiting to get in. By the time I got inside The Ghost Of A Thousand had done a pretty good job of warming up the crowd, the kids were jumping around in the moshpit and each song was followed by a warm applause. Southampton Guildhall is known throughout the area for its dodgy acoustics, sometimes bands sound great but more often than not the acoustic just don't sound right. Monday's show fell into the latter, while the Ghost boys put on a great performance, there were points when Tom's vocals were inaudible and when he spoke to the crowd there were more than a few puzzled faces staring back at him. It wasn't just Tom's vocals that were on the receiving end of the poor acoustics, guitarists Andy and Memby also didn't sound quite up to scratch as their music was over powered by strong drum and basslines courtesy of Jag and Gez. Although this wasn't the best I've heard the boys sound, the crowd seemed impressed with their performance and there's no doubt in my mind that The Ghost Of A Thousand won themselves a few more fans.
Californian rockers Saosin were the main support act and vocalist Cove Reber's smooth and powerful vocals seem a million miles away from TGOAT's Tom Lacey's. Saosin launched straight into their set and it seemed that just as many people were in Southampton to see them as what were there to see headliners Alexisonfire. Saosin are known for their powerful performances, and Monday's show was no different, strong drum and basslines provided a solid background for their raw, guitar-driven set. Although, Saosin's sound set-up seemed better, their performance did seem a bit calm and stale following an energetic performance from TGOAT. Cove's vocal performance cannot be faulted, he didn't hit one bum note and he made sure there was plenty of crowd interaction between every song and all of the band seemed to have a genuine excitement at being back in the UK. Saosin nailed their 45-minute set and although some people looked a tad bemused to see them on stage, the majority of the crowd seemed to enjoy their set.
It didn't seem long before headliners Alexisonfire stepped out on stage, the whole crowd surged forward as deafening screams and cheers filled the room. These guys wasted no time in started their set and a circle pit soon appeared, and by the time they had finished their first song someone had already been carried out from the pit, nose pouring with blood. The Ontario quintet actually seemed like the lovechild of TGOAT and Saosin as George Pettit scream is reminiscent of Tom Lacey's vocal style, and Dallas Green smooth and powerful vocal style is much like Cover Reber's. One of the interesting things about the Alexis show was the male/female crowd divide, the girlies swooned over Green and seemed to fall in love with him more and more with every line sung, whereas the boys went mental for Pettit. Guitarist-singer Wade MacNeil gave Green a run for his money in the vocal department, MacNeil's vocals were prominent and on key, his work with City and Colour has obviously helped him use his voice in the best way possible. Alexisonfire's set also seemed cursed with dodgy acoustic as sometimes it was hard to distinguish between songs and make out what the guys were trying to say to the crowd. The guys played a good mix of songs, and the crowd loved every minute of it, especially the kids at the front who spent the entire set dancing, cheering and applauding their heroes.