AFI have been considered as many things in rock music. Whether it be based on their genre, their onstage appearance, there’s no debating that they’ve been defined as one of today’s most definitive acts in rock, alternative and punk music of the 21st century. While they had paid their visit to the Australian crowd for some festival runs in 2010 and 2014, AFI finally got their own headline tour secured for the first time in eleven years. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and witness the Californian quartet in the flesh, to see what all the hype was about.
Getting inside, the first act to kick things off were Newcastle-based four-piece Introvert, who not only showed a lot of enthusiasm and humour throughout their set, but also had a drummer that was a spitting image of Viserys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. All jokes aside, while most of Introvert’s music didn’t really get my head banging, their live persona was what I found to be very energetic and quite determined from the time they started, up until they had ended their timeslot. Even though a band’s music can’t always strike a chord with me, Introvert won me over with the vitality they displayed onstage, and really had many attendees in The Forum really enjoy the hell out of their show.
Representing Suffolk, UK alt rockers Basement made themselves feel at home with Australian crowd once again, after last year’s appearance in support of their “Promise Everything” record. With forty-five minutes of exultant vibes driven from their set, Basement garnered a great reception from those that were eager for AFI. With a majority of their consisting of their latest album, Basement also brought some hyped sensations into the mix that blended greatly in their music and their live characteristics. While Basement haven’t really been regular visitors to the Australian shores, they’ve proven to really get in the moment, and bring the audience in to help make it a memorable one for everyone around the venue to join in.
Now, with the formalities underway with the headlining act, being front row for AFI was intense and very uplifting. Opening with Girl’s Not Grey, everyone in my surroundings were going apeshit to the upbeat tempo and Davey Havok’s tenor range, pouring every bit of their heart out to tracks such as Beautiful Thieves, Snow Cats, So Beneath You and many more. I had heard many stories of AFI’s live dynamism from their 2014 appearance at Soundwave, but I had also learned that AFI have always been known to stay in their element with every performance of theirs. And by god, I was pretty amazed to see that everything that was going on in front of me was perfection. And that’s coming from someone who rarely listens to them.
Frontman Davey Havok came with a couple of antics that involved some grade-A dancing skills and jumping offstage to sing up near the bar on the right side of the venue. I also gotta give some big ups to drummer Adam Carson, for executing some real tight beats and fills on his kit, going from funk to hard-hitting styles with the sticks. No matter the song, AFI had the crowd wrapped around their fingers and orchestrated them perfectly from singalongs to moshing in the pit. But, you can sure as hell expect AFI’s devotees to go nuts to the likes This Time Imperfect and Miss Murder during the encore.
I remember about a whole decade ago, I was jamming out to Miss Murder several times on Guitar Hero III, and found it to be one of my favourite tracks to play on the game. Ten years later, and experiencing my very first time at an AFI gig, it was definitely, one of the most energetic performances I had ever seen in rock music. Sure, I had liked a few of their songs in the past, but I don’t think I truly got into them until last night. And not only that, I guess I’m gonna go pick up their latest record and “Sing the Sorrow” and play them for a bit, after everything that just went down at The Forum.
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