– The Eastpak Antidote Tour 2009 @ Leeds Refectory 17/10/09

alexisonfireThere’s always something unsettling about corporate sponsored tours. You can’t help but feel a degree of cynicism that it’s just a big brand trying to cash in on the young market. However with a strong line up – despite the loss of The Fall Of Troy, let’s cast all negativity aside.

First on, Brighton quintet The Ghost Of A Thousand gave a fiery performance despite an unusual 6:30pm start – mixing material from debut album ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’ and latest effort, ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’. Highlights came from ‘Black Art Number One’ and ‘Left For Dead’, whilst the set also brought the day’s first and biggest circle pit, spanning all the way to the sound desk.

As late additions to the tour it’s understandable that Four Year Strong look a little out of place. Despite trying their best to emphasise the hardcore elements of their unique blend of pop punk, the Refectory crowd really wasn’t feeling it. Equally surprising was the minimal material from the recently released ‘Explains It All’, the band instead focusing on tracks from their debut including, ‘Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated’, ‘Catastrophe’, and favourite ‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’. Not a complete disaster, but by no means as good as it should have been.

After a successful stint on this summer’s Warped Tour you’d be forgiven for expecting a lot from Anti Flag. Whilst it’s clear their summer antics, as well as numerous years on the road, have been of great benefit – the band clearly comfortable and capable of giving the audience all the right prompts, it’s just a shame musically there’s been no progression. Still preaching to the disillusioned youth of the Bush era, their message now seems void of any meaning. ‘Turncoat’ and ‘Die For Your Government’ do offer a little nostalgic enjoyment for some, but are quickly quashed by a far too clichéd mid set rant about equality and diversity, followed by a simply awful cover of The Clash’s ‘Should l Stay Or Should I Go’. A dangerous question to ask, and for a sizable portion of the crowd, the answer is the latter.

Thankfully you can always count Alexisonfire to deliver a sweaty and adrenaline fueled headline performance. Despite showcasing a fair amount of material from latest effort ‘Old Crows / Young Cardinals’ – although tracks such as ‘The Northern’ and ‘Sons Of Liberty’ are dearly missed, there’s a generous helping of oldies as well; from the more predictable ‘Boiled Frogs’, to the surprise treat of ‘Waterwings’. Frontman George Petit was on typical crazed form whilst Dallas Green’s more melodic contributions gloriously soared. Closing the set with ‘Happiness By The Kilowatt’ is always a nice touch, as was Dallas’ particularly passionate introduction for ‘Accept Crime’ – encouraging the audience to be their own moral compasses. They may have had to put in the years for their success, but make no mistake, behind Alexis’ adolescent thrills, deep down, both live and on record, there’s all the trademark’s of a truly great band.

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