I don’t hate winter. I really don’t. I actually kind of love it. The snow, the cold, the coziness. I’m all about it but walking from my car to The Fillmore on Wednesday night was a stark reminder of what the next few months will be like. I was not the only one freezing and just desperate to get into the venue. People were shivering and bunching together as they waited for their chance to get through security and into the predicted heat of The Fillmore. Even though it was honestly a bit miserable as the line seemed to be the slowest moving line of all time, there wasn’t a single frown on face in line. Everyone was super excited because we all knew what was about to happen- we were about to celebrate a band that means so much to so many people.
Before we got to that, we were treated to Drab Majesty- a Los Angeles-based duo with a truly different sound. I’ll be honest, the second this act took the stage, I was a bit confused. Their music was a far cry from the headliner’s sound. Their music is very dark wave 80’s inspired and their look matched that. Donning grey suits, white wigs, and those giant black sunglasses that old people typically wear, Drab Majesty lulled the packed audience into a trance throughout their nearly fifty-minute set. I was not the only one who was a bit confused by this as the opening act choice but, about half way through, it kind of clicked. Davey Havok and Jade Puget (both members of the headlining act AFI) had a small side project called Blaqk Audio for a little bit that had a very electronic vibe to it. Thinking back on the set on Wednesday night from Drab Majesty, I see some similarities and have come to the conclusion that that’s why this band was on the bill.
Anticipation was high as the stage was turned over for AFI and as soon as the audience caught a glimpse of the legendary band, there was a huge roar of applause that quickly turned into a sing-a-long that lasted throughout their fifteen song set and two song encore. AFI is the abbreviation for A Fire Inside and is one of those nostalgia-drenched bands that, in the eyes of so many, can do no wrong. I’ve been a fan for decades and I remember worshipping the members of this band back in the day. From their look to their sound, there was something edgy about them while still remaining accessible to the point where my parents wouldn’t get super annoyed while I blasted their music from my bedroom.
AFI knew what they were doing on Wednesday and started their set off with “Girl’s Not Grey” which is arguably one of my favorite songs from the band. Kicking the set off with a hit but one that dates back to their 2003 album ‘Sing the Sorrow’ had me hopeful that we would get some deep dives throughout the set and we absolutely got that and then some. With eleven full length albums dating back to 1995, curating a seventeen song set seems like an impossible task but they pulled it off and somehow both gave those nostalgia-seekers what they wanted along with giving props to the newbies as they played through a few tracks from their 2021 album ‘Bodies’.
It didn’t matter what song was blaring throughout the sound system throughout their set, the entire audience was entranced by what was going on. Whether you were captivated by the undeniable sense of nostalgia that came with the older songs in the set or you were just stuck in vocalist Davey Havok’s hand due to the endless amount of energy he seemed to have, everyone had their eyes glued to the stage and mouth open. For a band that has been doing this as long as AFI has, I was impressed by the sheer power that they brought to the stage. I wasn’t quite surprised as I saw AFI just last month out in Las Vegas for the When We Were Young festival but I think I forgot how different a performance can be when comparing a giant festival set to a more intimate venue show.
Wednesday night’s show was just what I needed. It had been a rough day for me and I was feeling a bit manic while feeling a bit depressed at the same time but AFI fixed all of that. Between the music, the energy, and seeing one of my good friends freak out over nearly every song from the set– it was just one of those perfect nights.