3 Inches Of Blood And Alexisonfire Team Up For Vancouver Secret Show
Band Photo: 3 Inches Of Blood (?)
Its quite amazing how in the span of just one hour you can go from sitting in a friend’s basement drinking beers to being one of the lucky few in attendance at an exclusive "secret show." My Friday evening on November 27th certainly wasn't planned to go in that direction, but as soon as the text message was received proclaiming that 3 Inches of Blood and Alexisonfire would be performing a secret show under different names in a small, 300 person venue, myself and a few friends were rushed out the door and began our frantic journey into downtown Vancouver, which would transform into one of the best concert memories in my lifetime. Sound eerily similar to the movie "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist?" I hope not.
After a rather interesting and entertaining ride on public transit we had arrived at the Astoria on Vancouver’s downtown east-side. Upon arrival it was a pleasant surprise to only be a select handful in attendance, at the time. While Norma Jean, 3 Inches of Blood and Alexisonfire were wrapping up its show at a different and much larger venue to a sold out crowd a handful of opening bands took turns performing small sets on the exceptionally small Astoria stage. None of them were memorable and I don't even think they mentioned their names while performing so I have no clue who they were. Sorry.
By the time 3 Inches of Blood appeared from the venue’s basement and loaded its gear on stage the Astoria had been filled to capacity. Bodies were crammed together as if into one giant, sweaty Sardine can and once 3 Inches' kicked things off with "Night Marauders" the crowd went into a late, drunken frenzy. Over the course of 45 minutes the hometown heavy metallers busted out songs mostly from its first two major records, "Fire Up the Blades" as well as "Advance and Vanquish." Classics such as "Swordmaster," "Goatriders Horde" and of course "Deadly Sinners" were performed with deadly precision. The falsetto vocals of Cam Pipes are a force to hear and witness live and every other band member was putting it’s full heart into the performance. Not only was the band’s performance top notch but they were also filming the event for some sort of future release, possibly a music video or for bonus content on its forthcoming live DVD. The details of the filming were also kept a secret. Either way 3 Inches of Blood were fantastic from beginning to end.
Up next were Canada’s mainstream metallers and the internationally acclaimed Alexisonfire. I'm not sure what the rest of the world thinks about Alexisonfire but here in Canada these guys are massive and receive regular radio and television airplay. It was honestly a shock that they would even be performing in such a tiny bar, especially seeing as the band are used to playing in front of 5000+ people on any given night. Now, I must admit I’m not really a fan of Alexisonfire. While its first two records (the 2002 self-titled debut and 2004's "Watch Out!") were great they eventually took a decline into a more mainstream sound with its later material. But on this night at the Astoria Alexisonfire were out to prove everyone wrong. With the distinct absence of any crowd barrier frontman George Petit was constantly diving into the audience and being carried to the pit and back, time and time again. Not only that but he was interacting with fans in a way I haven't seen yet, by licking people's hands. Mine included. While that one part was odd and not really a highlight for me everything else about Alexisonfire’s 5 song set had that once-in-a-lifetime feel with its electric energy from both the band and everyone in attendance.
This is easily one of the best shows I have been to all year and to date would easily be in the top 5 for my all-time favourite shows, based on the atmosphere and energy. If Alexisonfire ever happen to roll through your town and are playing a smaller sized venue then I highly recommend you check them out.
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