Live Reviews

AFI – Live

Brixton Academy

After a 2 year break in recording albums, A.F.I have made one hell of a comeback. Hitting London in May at the Electric Ballroom warming up after roughly 4 years, they follow their sold out performances with a bigger venue. The one and only Brixton Academy. They surely enough manage to sell out this venue quick enough, with touts not even having to try and push the high in demand tickets. I am lucky enough to arrive late, and get ushered through the same door as Davey. Seeing the band arrive in perfectly made up form it looks like butter wouldn’t melt in their straightedge mouths.

Gracing their immaculate, clean, white stage, the band is clad in matching white lycra pant suits showing off their new ‘buffer’ physique. Inspiration from the Darkness perhaps, or in step with their 70’s-esque track “Miss Murder“? Davey bounces around on stage strutting newly rehearsed moves to every piercing chord. Surely enough every word has a buttoned down move, which has been perfected and will be practiced over the next 2 months of touring. With a few months of rehearsing behind them, the band is sounding tighter than those lycra slacks, so its no wonder they receive a warm London welcome.

Playing tracks from their new love inspired album, Decemberunderground, vegan Davey Havoks’ voice has marvelled a miraculous recovery, after shattering his vocal chords many months ago. If you have heard any of the soaring songs of Sing the Sorrow it isn’t any wonder! As one of my personal favourite albums, I am only too pleased when they play “Silver and Cold“, “Dancing through Sunday“, “Bleed Black“, “Girl’s Not Grey” one of the top singles of 2003 and sing about it classic “The Celluloid Dream“.

Celebrating their 15th anniversary in June, classics like “Ever and a Day“, and the ringing out of “I want you, I want you, I want you…to stay” in their infamous track “Days of the Phoenix” from the album “The Art of Drowning” have people singing along. Definitely an older crowd than the Electric Ballroom in earlier May this year where Davey had to curl into a ball on stage to reach those high notes without straining his voice too much.

Playing one of his personal top 3s’ ”Love Like Winter“, and new to become bonafide classic “Endlessly, She Said” the new album Decemberunderground is well paced, and is a tangible example of a maturing band comfortable enough to experiment with their own sound without losing their identity. From tracks like double-edged “Kiss and Control” to hand clapping synthesised beat of “Love Like Winter” they are sure to steal fans from the likes of My Chemical Romance and the like.

After an encore they politely thank the crowd again before disappearing into the darkness.

Niki Kova’cs
[Photos by Jen Saul]