AFI/The Explosion/The Blood Brothers - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

AFI / The Explosion / The Blood Brothers

live in Chicago (2003)

live show

Ah, the welcome sight of the venue. Ah, the 2 block long line even before the doors opened.

So far, so good. In line with me, the kids around me seemed anxious to get in, pining for the relative warmth of the Riviera. Dressed in my beat-up Millencolin shirt, I seemed out of place. As I looked around, I realized why, a good third of the kids had on eiether a Misfits or AFI t-shirt. (Black, of course)

Once in the venue, I met an old nemesis of mine: the security guards. I have little love for the Riv, and even less for the rent-a-cops working there. They'd take anything that could possibly be pointy, including spiked braclets and neckwear. Oh, and I could have sworn their "checking" for items that weren't supposed to go in the Riv would be called a crotch grab anywhere else.

A fan who came punk as fuck, decked out in some serious Rancid-esque spikes and jacket was nearly detained by guards for close to 45 minutes.

Once past the rent a cops, I saw another familiar sight: another long line for merchandise. Muttering various obscenities, I went into the line around 6. I left the line around 6:30/6:45

In line, I felt mildly uncomfortable. Why? The sheer amount of makeup and mascara on the fans around me was giving me coughing problems.

When the Blood Brothers took the stage, you knew it. What made them interesting was their screaming section, composed of two lead vocalists, and a synthesizer would pick up the speed when the drummer or guitarist slackened. Trying to explain their sound is damn near impossible. Think of your favorite hardcore album. Put that next to a heavy techno disk. Put the h/c album on, then switch for a moment to the techno cd, and then back. You've got the Blood Brothers. Confused? So was the crowd, they stood around staring at each other, wondering who the 5 psychos were running up and down the stage with boundless energy.

The Explosion was met with more enthusiasm by the crowd, considering they played a mix of 77, oi, and punk. They were alright, but they dropped any pretense of originality by their first song. I can see why people liked them, but they seemed mediocre. They were catchy though, and by the end my ears were piqued.


That said, AFI was quite good. Having never seen them before, I didn't know what to expect, but I found (as soon as I got out of the pit) that they played spectacular energy, and a compulsion to play the best they possibly could. Taking no expection to this idea, the fans chanted out all the words to their songs, at some points drowning out the black clad Davey and the rest of the band. Hunter was put into mad turns, which I'm sure made him dizzy as hell coming off stage, Jade doing rock jumps to put arena-rock acts to shame, and Adam kept the beat steady through the entire set, speeding up when he was supposed to, slowing down at the right times.

Kids waited outside for autographs by their favorite East Bay Hardcore group. They weren't disappointed.