The combo that brought post-hardcore to the Canadian mainstream, Alexisonfire formed in Saint Catharines, Ontario, in 2001. Vocalist George Pettit, guitarist/vocalists Dallas Green and Wade MacNeil, bassist Steele, and drummer Jesse Ingelevics debuted in 2002 with a self-titled effort for the Toronto-based Distort imprint. The album did very well in Canada, garnering a lot of support for the band from MuchMusic video network. That exposure led to a distribution deal with the respected American hardcore and punk label Equal Vision, which then issued Alexisonfire's sophomore effort in June 2004.
Watch Out! was even more ambitious than its predecessor, mixing moments of melodic grace with the wiry explosiveness that Alex had already trademarked. The next year, Ingelevics exited the group to be replaced by ex-Jersey drummer Jordan Hastings. A split with fellow countrymen Moneen appeared on Vagrant that November. Green also began working on some acoustic solo material, debuting the moniker City and Colour with 2005's Sometimes. (Subsequent full-lengths by the project became even more popular than Alexisonfire's work.) Alexisonfire had become an official part of Vagrant's roster by summer 2006, performing on their Warped Tour side stage and releasing explosive full-length number three, Crisis, that August. The guys then hit up the Reading and Leeds festivals in the U.K. prior to embarking on an extensive fall tour of Canada. MacNeil soon followed Green's City and Colour success with a side project of his own, Black Lungs, which debuted in 2008 with the album Send Flowers.
Fourth album Old Crows/Young Cardinals was unsurprisingly a hit in Canada upon its release in 2009, and it also earned the band their highest chart position in the U.S. An experimental EP titled Dog's Blood followed in 2010. By the end of the year, however, Green had decided to leave the band. MacNeil's departure followed soon after (he joined British hardcore band Gallows), and the band's attempts at recording a fifth album soon came to a halt. Alexisonfire reunited in 2012 for the farewell tour they thought their fans deserved, and in 2013, released a box set collecting their work. Another reunion tour was announced in March 2015, spanning major festival dates throughout the summer.
By Johnny Loftus