AFI: live in Vancouverlive in Vancouver (2010)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: westcoastweaselwestcoastweasel
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Sunday afternoon, I woke up on the wrong side of the couch. After my plans had been scrapped in a typical fashion, I awoke to witness the second of two preferred NFL football teams lose their championship game. Forfeiting any chance of arriving early enough for an interview with AFI at The Commodore.

Sunday afternoon, I woke up on the wrong side of the couch. After my plans had been scrapped in a typical fashion, I awoke to witness the second of two preferred NFL football teams lose their championship game. Forfeiting any chance of arriving early enough for an interview with AFI at The Commodore Ballroom prior to the show -- combined with my sour mood -- I put my ticket up for sale on craigslist. Shortly thereafter I smartened up and decided not to take my ball and go home, got on the train, and hoped for an experience more positive than the last time I saw the guys perform. It seems that I made the right choice.

The Commodore Ballroom always seems like a second home and often puts a smile on my face immediately. My grimace was only accentuated by the myriad of nearby eye candy, including a T-shirt that read "Fuck Skull." I was amused, to say the least. Feeling rather anti-social I kept to myself and enjoyed my version of Beck's lager while I waited for the Californian clan to commence.

In my opinion, there's nothing cheesier than opening a show with your current rock radio hit ("Medicate"). What comes close is following it with your biggest mainstream breaking single, "Girls Not Grey," from 2003's Sing the Sorrow. Semantics aside, both cuts sounded fantastic -- immediately. After a splendid rendition of "Leaving Song Pt. 2," Davey criticized the crowd for pot smoking. "That's right. I'm fucking serious," he said, only coming across half-serious. If there was one thing we could agree on, it was that. I have nothing against pot (aside from the shitty smell and the even shittier high) but the amount of dope in the air was surprising for a crowd presumably comprised of a measurable concentration of straight-edge kids.

"I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here" was the second tune played from 2009's Crash Love album. While it's certainly a catchy pop-rock offering, blending edgy guitars and a head-bobbing bubblegum chorus, it was "End Transmission" that I'd hoped to hear most this evening. Is this my favorite AFI song, spanning a 19-year career? Not even close. It is, however, my favorite song from this era of AFI. The people (who came) shouting song and album titles from our youth simply didn't get them. AFI refuses to be a nostalgia act; they believe in the current roster of songs. For the most part, I can't blame ??em. They did, however, include "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" from 1996's Very Proud of Ya, which sounded out of place, much like the opening act Skin Like Iron probably did (and to whom they dedicated the song). If you didn't see them play the classics when we were kids, then you missed the boat...deal with it.

Hearing and seeing Hunter's tapping bass interlude during their upcoming single "Beautiful Thieves" was a treat. The song is a Crash favorite and hearing it live gave new life to the anthemic tune. I was more than pleasantly surprised to hear Davey and Jade come together for the rare live offering of "Leaving Song" from Sing the Sorrow. This, followed by "On the Arrow" (a B-side from 2006's Decemberunderground), was surely the highlight of the night's performance. The preferred song of the December bunch was a non-album track. Go figure.

The Mortal Kombat-influenced track "Death of Seasons" wasn't a favorite in 2003 and it was enough this evening to make the pizza in my stomach churn. The annoying "Miss Murder" single from Decemberunderground followed and closed the set less than an hour after they hit the stage.

Adam's bombastic toms started the night's encore off with a roar during "Too Shy to Scream." "Love Like Winter" came second, offering a vocal high point for Davey on a song I otherwise don't care for. The third and final number of the encore was "Silver and Cold," a fan favorite which never sounded heavier, thanks to Jade's crunchy live guitar sound. While I half-expected a different evening closer, it only made sense that the three encores were from the past three albums.

Many old-school AFI fans may not share the level of appreciation I had tonight -- and to each their own. There are other bands I loved as a teen whom I certainly have zero desire to see live and although I thought AFI might be in that boat -- it's clear that they aren't (quite yet). I'm proud that no matter how diluted some of the original sound, style, and vision is -- they still don't fail to impress. I'm glad I saw the boys one last time in my favorite venue. Its atmosphere and soundscape, combined with an expected tight performance, had this guy smiling by the evening's close. While I might not be a fan of Sundays, I am still a fan of AFI.

[Originally posted at WestCoast Weasel blog]


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SaveOurShip (July 29, 2011)

@ xbat-mitex
The direct quote was, "Fuck God, fuck drugs, fuck alcohol, fuck eating meat, fuck animal consumption". Get off your high horse if you can't get your facts straight.

ashtraymonument (February 1, 2010)

"my gf eats meat..."

i bet she does


xbat-mitex (February 1, 2010)

Fuck sXe dudes with opinions. I'll smoke weed if I want to, I wouldn't blow it in your face but seriously don't tell me how to live my life. Davey pulled that shit at the Ceremony show at 924 Gilman when he got up and was like "fuck drugs, fuck people who eat meat...etc"

I'm a vegan myself, but I would never tell anyone to go vegan, my gf eats meat and I could care less other than I won't make out with her till shes brushed her teeth.

wyzo (January 31, 2010)

Just a quick high five on the review. As one of those who thinks show reviews are 99.9% of the time totally unnecessary and without any rationale for existing let alone once actual being well written, this is good. You tack on the fact that I have no interest in a review of AFI let alone an AFI show, and its a compliment.

Nice, even paced, doesn't get into overshare on your personal life territory but is personable, stays away from being an excuse for a random adolescent 'im such a nutty character' plea for friends from some vague internet community writing. There is actual point-of-view, and arguments made, and gets in, then out. Kudos.

88fingerstonytherevenge (January 31, 2010)

Weed > Ben Weasel

88fingerstonytherevenge (January 31, 2010)

Weed > Anything AFI has done since Answer That...

Deadpan (January 30, 2010)

I got very drunk and went to see these guys at Reading. Maybe it's because it was a festival set and the new album hadn't come out yet, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been, if just because they didn't pla as much off Decemberunderground as I was expecting. Still, I have absolutely zero desire to hear any of the garbage off Crash Love played live - hearing Medicate was bad enough. Blah. I hate it when bands forget that they actually have material of worth in their back catalogue. I'm all for mixing stuff up and playing new stuff, but near enough completely abandoning an expansive catalogue? It goes a long way towards explaining why I just don't like them any more.

Eelsupinsideya (January 30, 2010)

Seeing them in a couple of months, for the second time. To be honest, I thought they were brilliant the first time i saw them which was right around the time "December" came out but was surprised that the entire set was made up of that and "Sing" tracks. But the one thing that sticks in my mind was that tickets weren't cheap and they played for one hour. I find this a bit insulting. When tickets cost a lot, they have hours worth of songs to choose from and they are a headline act, that they seem to think that one hour is acceptable. Sadly it doesn't sound like thay've changed despite a further albums worth of songs to pick from...

clam (January 30, 2010)

weed owns

telegraphrocks (January 29, 2010)

Ben Weasel can go fuck himself.

westcoastweasel (January 29, 2010)

Most recent interview, with Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel.

http://www.westcoastweasel.com/2010/01/16/informant-inquisiti on-vii-ben-weasel-vs-westcoast-weasel/

(couldn't edit the previous one, sorry)

westcoastweasel (January 29, 2010)

On a side note... For those interested; the site in which this review originally appeared (among many others) has recently been redesigned. The most interview is with Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel (http://www.westcoastweasel.com/2010/01/16/informant-inquisition- vii-ben-weasel-vs-westcoast-weasel/). Past interviews include Frank Turner, Todd of Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream and more. http://www.westcoastweasel.com

Gwarmageddon (January 29, 2010)

That was my second time seeing AFI in the span of a month (they were in Victoria just prior to Vancouver), so I kinda already knew what to expect. Hearing them play Ever And A Day live was undoubtedly the highlight for me, much like Despair Factor was the highlight for the Victoria show. As much as I can appreciate AFI's desire to not be a nostalgia act, it's difficult to deny the impact that their older songs have on the audience. That being said, I was also pretty drunk at both shows, so maybe I was the only one who got into those songs and I'm just remembering it the way I want to remember it.

westcoastweasel (January 29, 2010)

I'm a happy person but incorporated my mood of the day (not of "everyday") into my review. I chose to ad a little bit of personality to my take on the show as I often do. I surely enjoyed it, as much or more than I expected I would seeing them for the 8th time over a period of 10 years. It was a good performance for sure.

happynolucky (January 29, 2010)

you sound like a very unhappy person

Allular (January 29, 2010)

If you enjoyed this show, it definitely doesn't show up in the body of the text.

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