AFI are a band that need no introduction. The band has been a reckoning force since the late 90s, winning over a plethora of fans and acquiring new ones with each subsequent album release.
Giving this gig the warm up treatment is Newcastle local quartet Introvert. Solid melodies with a perfect rhythm section accompaniment, these lads definitely have the chops to hold the stage of Eatons Hill Hotel on their own and rightly deserve their spot on this bill. Keep a watchful eye on these guys they surely won’t disappoint.
Riling the crowd up before the main show is a special treat. AFI have chosen to bring UK band Basement to our shores and geez Louise these guys pack a supersized punch. Heavy guitar work and bass lines that drive right through the core of your soul, it’s great to bear witness to such a powerhouse of raw, emotional, audible art.
The five piece definitely could embark on a headlining show of our country after amassing a solid fan following off the back of these shows. Rounding out their set with a mind blowing cover of Nirvana’s ‘School’, the UK boys smash it out of the park. I’ll be keeping an eye out for their inevitable return to our shores as their stage presence is phenomenal.
This is it, the part of the show we’ve all wanted. As the band steps onto the stage with the opening riff of ‘Girl’s Not Grey’ the crowd erupts to its absolute peak. You wouldn’t think more noise could be made by this crowd, but once Davey Havok bursts onto the stage, a level of excitable noise is obtained that deafens those of us too stupid to bring earplugs that could’ve saved our precious eardrums. With an energy that cannot be matched, the band runs around the stage trying to get every single person in the venue the best possible view from their standing. It’s exhausting watching Havok run from side to side and up and down, all the while wondering if he’s going to have the energy to keep going. But after all, they’re in the showman business and business is damn good. It’s amazing to watch such an energetic show, you feel like this is the gig you’ve painstakingly waited your whole life for, but never knew it until your own senses witnessed it for themselves
Singing along to all the songs we’ve wanted to see live since their unforgettable performance at Soundwave 2014, the guys treat us with old favourites such as ‘Clove Smoke Catharsis’ right through to new favourites off their latest release ‘AFI (The Blood Album)’. ‘So Beneath You’ and ‘Aurelia’ earn screams from the crowd and the whole of Eatons Hill Hotel pulses with excitement and elation when Davey and the boys unleash ‘Beautiful Thieves’ upon the masses.
Havok’s voice is without fault tonight, couple that with his unmatched stage presence and you’ve got one of the greatest modern showmen of our generation. The chemistry that Davey and his band share makes for one of the best live shows you’ll ever witness. The feverish guitar work of Jade Puget coupled with the bass lines that Hunter Burgan expels from his rig, grind right through to your inner core and stir emotions that cannot stop you from moving to the rhythm of Adam Carson’s beatings of the skins.
As Havok wades into the crowd during ‘I Hope You Suffer’ the congregation assists him with every perfect melody and ever heart-wrenching scream to deliver a performance that could not be rivaled by any act on the circuit past or present. Where other frontman would be mobbed, torn down and drowned in the pit, AFI fans hold Davey up proudly, helping to provide the perfect show for their fellow fanatical family members. THIS is what sets them apart from other bands, a full immersion, no holds barred performance.
Worn and tired, it’s hard to believe that we all still have the energy to scream to the finale of all finales that is ‘Silver and Cold’, but scream we do. AFI came, saw, conquered and destroyed our collective senses to the brink of utter annihilation. So i hope you cranked that AFI thick playlist all the way to wherever home is and hope that even for a fleeting moment, even just one second, that you achieved that same level of emotional ferocity that you allowed yourself to succumb to at this show.
Photos by Dan Maynard Photography