For Dallas Green, it’s not just coming home. It’s a celebration 20 years in the making.
It was 2002 when Alexisonfire emerged from the pubs and festivals of St. Catharines to become one of Canada’s pioneering hard rock bands. Next week, Green and his reunited band will mark the occasion with a four-day festival called Born & Raised, in Montebello Park, with plenty of friends in tow.
Green’s solo band City and Color will be the headliner on June 30 and July 1, with Alexisonfire taking over on July 2 and 3.
For Green, the four-night blast of activity will feel cathartic after the forced inactivity of the pandemic.
“After the past couple of years, it just felt like… if we try to find a new normal and go back to what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years, we thought we were going to have a big celebration of that,” says Groen. get as many bands as possible and put on a fun show for everyone in the area.”
Every night will be unique. On June 30, City and Color will perform its 2005 debut album “Sometimes” in its entirety for the first time. Green is joined by the Sam Roberts Band, Ruby Waters and Chastity.
Night 2 on July 1 features City and Color, along with Broken Social Scene, Moneed and Dooms Children.
The volume turns up on July 2 for Alexisonfire and guests Billy Talent, Hot Water Music and Nobro.
For the final on July 3, Alexisonfire will play his 2002 self-titled debut album in its entirety for the first time. They will be joined by Pup, Cleopatrick and The OBGMs.
As if that wasn’t enough, Alexisonfire is also releasing his first album in 13 years, “Otherness” this week. Pretty much ever since the band announced their split in 2011, Green has been asked if and when they’ll be doing it again. After some sporadic singles and shows, the wait is finally over.
“I think we all assumed that if we had the time and the opportunity, we could do it,” he says. “But because we broke up and took some time off, slowly making our way back, I think we were all hesitant to jump right in and try to make a record because it was meant to be. Or because people wanted to.
“But then the world stopped giving most of us nothing but time to think, think and be creative. When we started playing together – literally out of the need to want to see another human being and see your friends – there was no idea of ’Let’s get together and make an album’. It was just, ‘Can we all just hang out for a minute and talk about how crazy this new version of the world is?’”
But it wasn’t long before the ideas started flowing, resulting in a triumphant run of emotional, hard-hitting new songs. For Green and band members Wade MacNeil, George Pettit, Chris Steele and Jordan Hastings, it’s a natural—not nostalgic—step forward from where they left off more than a decade ago.
“We just leaned against this thing that the five of us share, which is the ability to create a loud racket,” says Green. “Coincidentally, we can all agree that this might be the best record we’ve ever made.”
While they can still scream and shred, there is also a maturity that has taken over their sound. Which, according to Green, is inevitable for a band that formed when some of the members were still in high school.
“I mean, unless you haven’t grown an inch, you can’t help but feel that,” he says. “We got thrown in here. It changed us and it also drove us a little crazy when we were young and going through all this. I think we as humans have all lived so much life now.”
For Green, every visit to home is a reminder of where it all began. His parents’ basement. His friend’s house. The local bars and pubs. And SCENE of course – Niagara’s indie music festival where Alexisonfire first attracted national attention. Whether by design or coincidence, it is a festival Born & Raised mirrors.
It’s going to be four nights as in-depth for Green as Alexisonfire fans.
“Alexis is really the springboard for everything I’ve accomplished in my life,” he says. “They were those guys that I have a relationship with that I don’t have with anyone else in my life.
“To be able to come back – especially the 20th anniversary of our first record and the week after our new record – I’m trying to downplay it until we actually get on stage, but it will be a very emotional experience for all of us.”
Day tickets for Born & Raised are $89 or $299 for a four-day pass, plus a service fee. Children up to and including 12 years free. www.bornandraisedconcertseries.com