For Dallas Green, it’s no mere homecoming. 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 seminal hard rock bands. Next week, Green and his reunited band mark the occasion with a four-day festival called Born & Raised, at Montebello Park, with plenty of friends in tow.
Green’s solo band City and Colour will headline June 30 and July 1, with Alexisonfire taking over July 2 and 3.
For Green, the four-night explosion of activity will feel cathartic after the forced inactivity of the pandemic.
“After the last couple of years, it just sort of felt like … if we’re trying to find a new normal and get back to the thing we’ve done the past 20 years, we just thought we’d do a big celebration of that,” says Green. “Try to get as many bands as we could and put on a nice show for everybody in the area.”
Each night will be unique. June 30 will have City and Colour performing its 2005 debut album “Sometimes” in its entirety for the first time ever. Joining Green will be the Sam Roberts Band, Ruby Waters and Chastity.
Night 2 on July 1 will feature City and Colour along with Broken Social Scene, Moneed and Dooms Children.
The volume goes way up July 2 for Alexisonfire and guests Billy Talent, Hot Water Music and Nobro.
For the finale on July 3, Alexisonfire will play its self-titled 2002 debut album in its entirety for the first time ever. They’ll be joined by Pup, Cleopatrick and The OBGMs.
If that’s not enough, Alexisonfire is also releasing its first album in 13 years this week, “Otherness.” Virtually from the moment the band announced their split in 2011, Green has been asked if and when they’ll do it again. After some sporadic singles and shows, the wait is finally over.
“I think we all assumed that if given the time and opportunity, we could do it,” he says. “But because we broke up and took some time away, slowly making our way back, I think we were all hesitant to jump right in and try to make a record because we were supposed to. Or because people wanted us to.
“But then the world stopped and allowed most of us nothing but time to reflect and think and be creative. When we started playing together — literally out of the necessity of wanting to see another human being and check in on your friends — there was no idea of ‘Let’s get together and make an album.’ It was just, ‘Can we all hang out for a minute and talk about how crazy this new version of the world is?’”
But it didn’t take long for the ideas to start flowing, resulting in a triumphant batch of emotional, hard-hitting new songs. For Green and bandmates 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 were just leaning into this thing that the five of us share with one another, which is the ability to create a loud racket,” says Green. “It just so happens we all agreed it may be the best record we’ve ever made.”
While they can still scream and shred, there’s also a maturity that has taken over their sound. Which Green says is inevitable for a band that formed when some 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 into this. It changed us and it also made us a little crazy when we were young and experiencing all this. I think us as human beings, we’ve all lived so much life now.”
For Green, every visit home is a reminder where it all started. His parents’ basement. His friend’s house. The local bars and pubs. And SCENE, of course — Niagara’s indie music festival where Alexisonfire first caught national attention. Whether by design or coincidence, it’s a festival Born & Raised mirrors.
It will be four nights as profound for Green as Alexisonfire fans.
“Alexis is really the springboard for everything I’ve accomplished in my life,” he says. “It was those dudes I have a relationship with that I don’t have with anybody else in my life.
“For us to be able to come back — specially the 20th anniversary of our first record and the week after our new record — I’m trying to downplay it until we actually stand on stage, but it will be a very emotional experience for all of us.”
Single day tickets for Born & Raised are $89 or $299 for a four-day pass, plus service fees. Children 12 and younger free. www.bornandraisedconcertseries.com