A sold out show at The Fonda is an experience to behold. This notion holds especially true when the band’s return to the stage has been four years in the making. In celebration of the release of their new album Burial, AFI (A Fire Inside) played the Hollywood theatre. Twenty years strong, this group has quite the cult following. Their nineteen-song set emphasizes their expansive catalog, followting AFI’s transition from creating metal to grungy emo rock with a punk flare. They warm the hearts of some of their most die-hard Los Angeles-based fans as they play hit after hit and give the sold out crowd every ounce of debauchery required to qualify a legitimate rock show– fights, moshing, devil horns, sing-a-longs and, of course, plenty of black leather.
The curtain rises and crowd goes wild as band takes the stage. Upon hearing the intro to “The Leaving Song Part II,” the steamy room instantly erupts into a chorus. Everyone sings along and cheers. Between bassist Adam Carson’s high kicks in front and the growing mosh pit at the back of the room, the night seems to continually intensify. The raging center of the dancefloor eagerly thrusts everyone toward the stage for “Girl’s Not Grey,” devil horns and fists flying in the air as a seal of approval. Singer Davey Havok’s voice is barely audible at times due to the roar of the crowd. Halfway through “I Hope You Suffer,” Havok takes command and jumps onto the people in the pit. He walks a few feet forward, using shoulders as stepping stones. Balancing as stiff as a statue, he leans into the room even further and carries on until an overenthusiastic crowd surfer jumps at him. They scream the last line, “You made me suffer/ I hope you, I hope you do,” together whilst in mid air and Havok returns to the stage, surprisingly still intact.
Despite the fights that break out in the back of the balcony, AFI’s raw vehemence continues with throwbacks “Wester,” “Love Like Winter” and “Ever and a Day.” After blasting through a few good familiar songs, they take a slight break slowing the room down for just a moment with a passionate, heartfelt rendition of “The Leaving Song.” Undoubtedly, this is all too exciting for the super fans who cannot help but jump throughout each song. Their smiles alone speak for them. It becomes obvious that hearing Havok’s voice is so much more satisfying than on a studio track. His voice translates smoothly over the rough chords and raging drums.
Keeping in mind that this is their official album release date, they do bring in a few new tunes including “The Conductor.” Havok raises his microphone stand in the air and points to the crowd, inviting them to sing the chorus for him. Their ferocious roar is a testament to their elation and adoration for the band. The band’s interaction with the crowd adds to the fun ferocity as well. They raise their chins and mouth the words along as the audience belts out the lyrics. They move into the final leg of the show with “A Deep Slow Panic” which Havok notes has not been played for any other live audience yet.
To finish off the night, they return from a short rest and immediately break into a sweet cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” By now, every note seems louder than the last. Several crowd surfers and girls perched on shoulders have popped up on top of the crowd. They certainly keep things interesting by satisfying every last wish of their fans with a fast and loud “Dancing Through Sunday” and “Silver and Cold.” As the people flood out of the venue, a few fans who cannot shake the buzz continue to squeeze out a few whoops and hollers before they exit. AFI’s next sold-out reckoning transpires this Friday in Pomona, CA at The Fox Theater.
The Leaving Song Part II
Girl’s Not Grey
I Hope You Suffer
Love Like Winter
Ever and a Day
The Leaving Song
A Deep Slow Panic
The Days of Phoenix
God Called in Sick Today
Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
Dancing through Sunday
Silver and Cold