AFI Live @ The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, 10-12-13
AFI's discography lends well to their live show when crafted into a diverse set list. The band covered half of Sing the Sorrow, catered to "older" fans with deep-cuts like “Wester” and “The Boy Who Destroyed the World,” played a couple of new songs off their upcoming LP Burials and threw in a The Cure cover for good measure. But we'll get there. First, let's go back to the beginning.
Davey Havok started the show off with a “Leaving Song Pt. 2” front-flip into the audience, putting the bouncers on high alert. He continued throughout the show with a couple of other Davey-on-audience moments outside of the prerequisite “God Called in Sick Today” crowd-walk. From there, the set list took off in different directions, constantly switching through albums, genres and moods.
For AFI, the stage is as much a playground as it's ever been. Hunter Burgan and Adam Carson are emotive performers, while Jade Puget twirls and broods without a hint of expression (his fingers do the work for him) and Havok's intensity, flawless note-hitting and audience interaction all contribute to a special aural and visual experience for audience members.
AFI fans are a rabid bunch and the band was definitely feeling the love. In fact, Havok put together a string of words into a sentence that I never anticipated hearing in my entire life: "Thank you New Jersey for making me forget how broken I am." The teenage death boys and teenage death girls continued to put Davey, Adam, Hunter and Jade back together for the remainder of the show with plenty of enthusiasm.
The set was punctuated by a pretty special dual-vocal version of “Kill Caustic” between Davey and Sick of it All's Lou Koller (who seems to be at every show in the tri-state arrea that has even a hint of hardcore influence.) The interplay between them was somewhat minimal, but the stage movement and Lou's vocals were energetic and exciting.
Often enough, older AFI fans feel uncharacteristically disengaged from newer AFI material, but it's hard to feel anything but adoration and excitement at an AFI show, no matter which of the band's eras you hold most dear.
The Leaving Song Pt. II
Girl's Not Grey
I Hope You Suffer
Love Like Winter
Ever and a Day
The Boy Who Destroyed the World
The Leaving Song
Kill Caustic (with Lou Koller)
The Days of the Phoenix
God Called in Sick Today
Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
Dancing Through Sunday
Silver and Cold