The BEAST - Buffalo's Best 59 9/30/04--10/14/04


Alexisonfire, Hopesfall, & Moneen

Live at Showplace Theater

"We're with the Beast, so we get in for free, right?" Andrew the Photo Guy and I ask the man behind the counter.

"Yeah," grunts Mr. Showplace. "And you'd better not give us a shitty review. Someone from your paper came maybe a year and a half ago, and cut up on us for no reason."

"I'm not writing a shitty review. Well, unless the show is legitimately bad. Then I probably will."


The atrium of the eternally decrepit Showplace Theater smelled strongly of paint. Mmm, paint fumes...wait, what was I doing there again? Oh, right. Reviewing the show.

The Canadian act Moneen was the first band to take to the stage after we had arrived. I'll be honest; I've never been a huge Moneen fan, but they had a very respectable start. I must say, the dreadlocks on lead guitarist Chris Hughes were impressive. As was the guitar work itself, complete with nice harmonization effects that sounded like they could only be done in a recording studio. The lead singer's frantic running around on stage, throwing shit (not literally, this wasn't Dillinger Escape Plan), and at one point surfing on an orange crate added liveliness to the set. Apart from excessive screwing around with the sound equipment, they put on a damn good show.

After their set, Andrew the Photo Guy and I got to chat with Peter Krpan, Moneen's drummer. When he realized that we were scum-sucking music critics, the conversation went a little like this:

"Oh no, you're reviewing? We sucked tonight!"

"Uh, why do you say that?"

"Well, I guess it was just me. I'm just not used to partying, getting up early, driving all day and then playing a show. Just not my thing, I guess."

"But isn't that what rock stars do?"

"Hmmm... I guess you're right."

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 Big Emo Tears for Moneen.

* * *

Next up on the roster was Hopesfall. While they had a harder sound than Moneen, the music was somehow more ambient-and when I say ambient, I mean easy to ignore. In striking contrast to Moneen, the lead singer/screamer of Hopesfall just sort of stands there when he's not singing. And unlike Moneen's lead, he didn't have a guitar to deal with in the midst of the crazy running around. But somehow, Hopesfall manages to produce a sound that swallows you up, producing that Zen-like moment of non-thought when all is right with the world. 3 out of 5 Big Emo Tears.

* * *

That ear-piercing noise from Kill Bill (you know, the one for when "the Bride" sees someone she's going to kill) heralded the arrival of headliners Alexisonfire. They kicked off with "Accidents," arguably the best song on their most recent album. They gave equal time to their self-titled album and Accidents, which is always a good thing for bands to do, but it makes for a somewhat incohesive set list, given how different the two albums are. On a few songs, they broke into some mathy improv that wasn't on the CD, adding to the chaos (in a good way).

Like Moneen, they mix in goofy antics with their intense set list. George, AOF's designated screamer, also takes on the role of audience interaction. Provided he doesn't wear out his vocal cords, the guy could have a future as a motivational speaker. Along with being staunchly anti-coke, he offered the following gems of wisdom: "Don't run with scissors, no horseplay in the pool, and don't walk on train tracks on LSD." Truly words to live by.

The Beast caught up guitarist Wade S. Preson Esq (hey, that's the name he gives on the website) after the set to ask him some extraordinarily dumb questions.

"So, I understand you're Canadian," I said. "How's that working out for you?"

"I'm lovin' it." How concise.

"Right... I guess you can't fuck with universal health care. Okay, one more question: if you were trapped on a desert island, and your only means of survival was a VHS copy of 'Sweatin' to the Oldies,' what is the capital of Uzbekistan?"

"Uhhh, shit, I don't know...." Wade stops to ponder. "Srilan, or something like that?"

"No, actually it's Samarkhand. But you were damn close."

For their intense set, ability to work the crowd, and their half-assed geographical knowledge, Alexisonfire gets 4 out of 5 Big Emo Tears.

-Chris Meister

2004 The Beast