There’s nothing pretty about the Troubadour. One of the many hole-in-the-wall venues Los Angeles offers is far from acoustical perfection, providing for a noisy night with Alexisonfire and their support.
Besides the headliner, Therefore I Am was my most anticipated act that night. Only a small crowd had come for the first opener, but Alex Correia wasn’t about to let that stop his band from tearing the place down. After a hard instrumental intro, the vocalist came from nowhere and jumped into the crowd, starting his own personal mosh pit. Heavy hitters like “I Am Only An Island” and “Splinters” had great energy, but the venue’s close walls blurred the musical intricacies together. “Big Blue” easily was the best song of the performance if only because Correia didn’t cheat it by screaming the whole track. What makes TIA great is their well-placed harmonies and balance between clean and rough vocals; far too often did he scream lyrics that were clean on the album. Even still, great power and energy make for a great show. Additional photos.
La Dispute‘s unique brand of post-hardcore followed next to near perfection. Whatever it is that they do, they do it well. Jordan Dreyer recreates his album vocals well with high energy in a way the frontmen should mimic. His personality and passion almost made his bandmates seem like backing help at times, the way they stoically and masterfully played their roles in each song. Most surprising was the audience participation: Los Angeles is a long ways from Michigan, yet a great deal of the audience sang along and stormed Dreyer everytime he leaned forward. If you enjoy their tunes, you must check out their live show. Additional Photos.
Trash Talk is not my flavor of music. Very thrashy, very wild, and nothing but. The four-man band certainly commanded attention, inspiring numerous front flips from audience members off the stage into the pits. Again, if you like their tunes, you’ll like their live show; I just don’t care for the 75 second tracks with nothing but rage. Additional Photos.
Finally, the great Alexisonfire. Crank the reviewer tilt a tad, as these guys are an all-time favorite of mine. The stage presence these guys carry is immense: George screams his way shirtless through the entire set, beckoning the entire crowd to move with him; Wade’s punk influences and friendly fat guy attitude help people connect; Dallas stands off to the side with little emotion, simply supplementing the band with his brilliant cleans. “Young Cardinals” opened the set up in a big way, leading viewers through tracks from all eras of Alexisonfire. All the must-hears from Watch Out!, Crisis, and the latest Young Cardinals were there, plus an extra special performance of “Pulmonary Archery” from their rarely-heard debut album. Issues with security and sound (including McNeil flipping off the sound guy and shoving a 6’8″ security guard mid-set) made for some major rough spots in the vocals and music. The break between the main set and the encore did the group well, allowing them to regroup for “The Northern,” the night’s standout track. Of the four times I’ve witnessed this band, the Troubadour experience was certainly the sloppiest, though still enjoyable. Additional Photos.
I was a tad disappointed, but these bands deserve your attention. Don’t let my off night fool you; there’s immense talent on this tour.