Predictable is a word that does not quite factor into AFIs vocabulary. They are a group that have been evolving sense their formation in 1991; dancing across the musical spectrum from minute long hardcore punk songs to breezy disco tunes. Though some purists (particularly those indebted to the bare bone nature of the hardcore punk scene) may express some discrepancies with the groups adoption of emo and glam sensibilities, AFI have always managed to maintain their distinctive gloom ridden sound and have consistently approached their work and live performance with a sense of sincerity. They show great respect to their audience, but by no means indulge them in feeding them formulaic gripe. Their lack of conforming to expectations and their audacity in challenging their audience by shifting their sound and appearance is what makes their music and performance so damn fascinating. Whether AFI is playing in a hip club downtown or a generic suburban Amphitheater (like the one I saw them at when opening for Greenday) it is impossible to ignore them. Singer Davey Havoc demands the audience attention leaping from one side of the stage to the next, climbing on amps and drumsets or belting out “Miss Murder” on his knees. Depending on the song it is even possible to spot them dancing under a disco ball illuminating thousands of strands of lights onto the stage. It is difficult to know what to expect when entering an AFI show other than an amazing time.

Their setlist makes great use of their catalogue comprising of newly released material, hit songs like “Girl’s Not Grey” and “Silver and Cold” and more obscure selections from their West Coast punk days. Their live performance offers something for old and new fans providing a holistic view of where the band has been and where it is right now. Each performance is fresh and non-contrived and can even enamor the casual listener. Though the description intense only scratches the surface of their confrontational stage presence, off stage they are completely approachable people generously spending time with their fans signing autographs, taking pictures and engaging in conversation.

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