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- AFI »
I’ve never been much of a punk rocker. I rendezvous with the vast genre in dribs and drabs, with certain outstanding bands catching my attention every so often via the medium of either a fantastic song or a mind-blowing live performance. *A Fire Inside *got me hooked through the latter.
It was at the 2003 Reading Festival that I caught the quartet in the Radio 1 tent, and after hearing the resplendently dark _‘The Leaving Song Part Two’ _and watching the flamboyant pirouettes by the band onstage, I knew that I’d been hearing the name for so long for a reason. AFI play that song second tonight, and while it is a welcome surprise that they play one of their strongest songs so early, it does also make you wonder what is in store for the rest of the evening.
Decked out all in white – white clothes, white drumkit, white speaker stacks, white everything – this band is as elegant and emblematic in appearance as they have proven to be musically for more than a decade. Davey Havoc is a photographer’s dream as he prowls and prances across the stage, periodically swiping his cultured fringe across his brow. You can tell from the thousands of low-rent versions of that emo fringe in the crowd that Havoc is a leader not a follower. For his sins, he has inspired this generation.
He is not alone in creating the unique appearance for the band. As Jade Puget stays to the right of the stage whirling his guitar around his own spinning top of a body, you see where Fall Out Boy may have received some inspiration for their own overblown theatricals from. On the other side of the stage is Hunter, who stands stock-still for a moment long enough to catch your eye before exploding across the stage or lunging with his bass to form the perfect rock shape. In a time when so many bands are content with just performing songs, the emo scene is definitely the place to go if you want a wonderfully entertaining live show.
As suspected, the band ploughs through much more of the recent material - a slight departure from their earlier, more gothic work. The glammed-up emo masterpiece of _‘Miss Murder’ _closes the set and every devoted audience member has their hands in the air, singing along. While AFI have hardly disappointed with their more recent material, tonight has been less about the music and more about a great concert in every other respect.
Photo courtesy of Rob Labas