Bluesfest by day: Alexisonfire & The Offspring & The Dirty Nil
Photo credit: Greg Kolz
A non-stop punk fury gripped Bluesfest on Friday, with one of the most heavily focused lineups of the week. With lots of kicks, riffs and mosh-pits, rock fans got their money's worth and then some.
The Dirty Nil
There was a clear excitement between fans and The Dirty Nil themselves when they started the night on Friday. As the band kicked and screamed across the stage, viewers were treated to a headline-worthy show to start. With new tracks like "Astro Ever After" bringing up the energy as much their older material, you could see why The Dirty Nil was having enough fun to do some dances on stage. There was even some hilarious synchronized screams of "F***" to "Wrestle Yu to Husker Du" as the track's climactic shout was met at full force by the crowd.
They proved their metal and strict punk cred on the shredding of "No Weaknesses," as they hit a grimy sound akin to Motorhead. The Dirty Nil was clearly giddy about the lineup too, citing the insanity of opening for The Offspring and Alexisonfire already. Bassist Ross Miller also paused to note that he had been at the fest years ago just to see Alexisonfire himself before having a bad experience at the Elgin Diner. "If you see a band on stage and you want to do that too, you can, and hopefully without a tummy ache," said Miller. With Miller doing plenty of comical poses throughout "Please Please Me" and closers like "Pain of Infinity" and "Evil Side," the band easily showed why they deserved their stellar slot.
Though the Offspring clearly had aged a bit since their glory days, you wouldn't know it from how they actually performed. Inflatable dolphins and children's toys were flying through the air as they launched into "Americana." Though the band had some newer and slower material, they shined brightest burning through their robust catalogue of hits, like the bouncing life of "All I Want" (which you may remember best from Crazy Taxi). "Come Out and Play" got plenty of fists in the air to their choruses while the groovy verses had the most dancing of their entire set too.
Even their cover of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" was a fun time to watch. Interestingly the band took a piano ballad approach to their hit "Gone Away" to really make the dynamics of their finale feel all the more huge. From here on out though it was a party as the band chanted with the crowd through "Why Don't You Get a Job" and the high-pitched shrieks of "Pretty Fly." Closing on "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" the crowd was right there with them, to the point that someone.
The pre-show signs telling people moshing and crowd-surfing wasn't advised for the night almost seemed comedic with the kind of energy Alexisonfire brought within seconds of taking the stage. While George Pettit took a second to recognize at the mic, you knew it was him as he tore his shirt off like The Hulk in transformation. This launched them into a frenzied performance of "Accidents" with fans around the grounds screaming "Let's Redefine." Pettit constantly pushed the crowd to up the ante, saying once to their lackluster cries "Bulls***… LOUDER."
With the feisty energy of "Side Walk When She Walks" and "Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints" the crowd was constantly throwing drinks and creating powerful mosh pits, though rarely in any dangerous way. Even their light show grew from moody stark colouring to full-on strobe fests during the show. The band was constantly switching spots, and sometimes even instruments so that by "Old Crows" you had trouble following who played what anymore. In the midst of their visceral performance it was also fun to see Dallas Green pull out his dirtiest vocals in years. While it could seem crazy to see Pettit calling for mosh pits on both sides of the stage, it was easy to see why the crowd obliged given how ecstatic Alexisonfire were on stage despite their large break. And honestly, we can't wait to have them back already.