Millennial favourites tear up The Coliseum

Alexisonfire, The Distillers, and NOBRO at The Pacific Coliseum, 1/25/20

Photo by Ryan L. Johnson @Rynstein

Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum has hosted a variety of notable acts over the years. It’s opening year in 1968 saw Jimi Hendrix take the stage followed a few months later by Led Zeppelin. The Doors recorded a live album at The Coliseum in 1970; The Rolling Stones stopped by on their tour for Exile On Main Street  in ‘72; The Coliseum hosted KISS, Areosmith, David Bowie, and Pearl Jam over future years just to name drop a few more. And of course, it saw Canada’s own Alexisonfire at the end of 2012 on what was labelled as their Farewell Tour.

Yet here we are, seven years later, the band back on the road on a co-headline five-date tour with none other than the back-from-the-dead Los Angeles punk band The Distillers. We saw three albums from Brody Dalle and co. in the early-00’s before their breakup in ‘06. It wasn’t until 2018 when the band began to pop up again, releasing two new singles towards the end of the year. In April of last year, there was word of work on a fourth album, yet we’ve seen nothing new as of yet.

So, needless to say, there was a lot of hype going into The Coliseum Saturday night. The band with the honour of opening for the millennial rock classics was the Montreal punk outfit known as NOBRO. The four-piece of Kathryn McCaughney, Sarah Dion, Lisandre Bourdages, and Karolane Carbonneau rocked out like a group of friends in the garage. Each of the ladies yelling into their respective mics and providing quite the slap in the face to the growing crowd who, for many, were surely getting their first taste of the wonderfully outrageous “doom pop” band.

Photo by Ryan L. Johnson @Rynstein

You’ll want to have stayed close to your friends in the crowd that had formed by the time The Distillers took the stage because it was easier than you would think to get lost in the masses on the floor of The Coliseum. But boy, was it ever a fun crowd. It got very wild when The L.A. punk heroes came on stage, and Brody Dalle was the same rock Queen we all remember. The mother of three led the band through staples like “Beat Your Heart Out,” “Drain the Blood,” and “City Of Angels.” This reviewer’s favourite, “Hall of Mirrors” was an early highlight, but it was hard for a song to stand out in such a consistently furious set.

The entire span of The Coliseum floor was covered when Alexisonfire hit the stage; it was a beautiful sight from the seats above and made you proud to witness as a Vancouverite seeing their city out in force this January evening to support one of the country’s greatest active bands. Jordan Hastings, Chris Steele, Wade MacNeil, Dallas Green, and George Pettit (four of five founding members from ‘01) opened the set with a song that probably introduced many in attendance to the band 15 years ago: “Accidents.” 

Next up, the true old school fans were losing it over “Pulmonary Archery,” the closer off the band’s 2002 debut. Third up was a setlist staple in “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners, and Saints” from album number three, ‘06’s Crisis, an album that helped catapult the band to a wider audience. Three songs in, and three separate periods of the band’s career covered, each one holding its own unique fan base. That’s not even mentioning the fans that undoubtedly joined after ‘09’s Old Crows / Young Cardinals. Saturday night had each of these fan bases smashing heads together and isn’t that just one of the many beauties of live music.                    

Alexisonfire has been hailed as a band that brought heavy music to the masses in Canada. They have been cited as influences for other Canadian post-hardcore acts such as Cancer Bats and Silverstein and their influence stretches so much further. Saturday night proved that they still hold that influence and will forever be regarded as one of the greatest, most defining band’s of Canada’s post-hardcore scene.

See all our photos, taken by Ryan Johnson, HERE