Break Out the Black Eyeliner– AFI Took Over First Avenue and Brought Us Back To Our Roots


AFI was one of those gateway bands for me. I remember watching their music video for their song “Girl’s Not Grey” when it was on All Things Rock (hosted by Benji & Joel Madden of Good Charlotte). I was instantly hooked by AFI. It was the music, the unique sound of Davey Havok’s voice, the look of the whole band (especially Davey Havok who became the main focus of all of the cut up magazines that covered my walls). They had me in the palm of their hand and it was everything that I needed at that time of my life. 

The band took the stage and I could feel my face light up. I probably looked like a complete idiot with the size of the smile on my face but I didn’t care. I was about to watch one of the bands that truly made me who I am and that’s all I cared about.

Davey Havok, their iconic singer, commanded the crowd with ease as the band played through their fifteen song set follow by two encores. His beautifully unique voice never faltered and, even though it’s been years since I have watched live footage of this band, it was clear that nothing has really changed with time, if anything, AFI has only gotten better. 

The music of AFI is all over the place and I think that’s a huge reason why I was caught by them so quickly. They have some songs that are worthy of tears and others that are worthy of a giant mosh pit. Their versatility is something that I see many bands strive for but never quite get there. AFI does it seamlessly on albums and proved last night that they could do it live too. Even during the slower songs last night though, there was still this undeniable energy radiating from the stage and the crowd. It didn’t matter what they were playing, all eyes in the crowd were on that stage as many of us watched the music of our youth play out in front of us.

AFI played through some new, some old songs and even played “The Face Beneath the Waves” for the first time live. I really didn’t care what songs they played. Just seeing them live, in person, and being feet away from Davey Havok and Jade Puget (guitarist) was more than enough for me. 

As much as I could go on and on about AFI, there were two other bands on the bill and both of them deserve recognition.

The Chain Gang of 1974 was on just before AFI. I just saw them a couple of months ago when they opened for The Naked & Famous. These guys come out with more power and energy than most of the opening acts I see and, because of that, they have truly stuck out to me and I consistently find myself comparing other opening acts to them. Maybe that’s not fair to other bands but it is what it is. The Chain Gang of 1974 is one of the few bands that I’ve seen that truly play each show like it’s the most important show they’ve ever had. They don’t let a stagnant crowd get to them and, vise versa, they don’t get huge heads when the crowd is going crazy for them and the girls are screeching. To say these guys are solid would be an understatement.

Although The Chain Gang of 1974 is technically a project that focuses on front man Kamtin Mohager, when this band comes together to perform, it’s truly something beautiful. Their indietronica sound is definitely unique and helps this band stand out and prove why they keep on getting these huge tour offers. The almost dream-pop sound of some of their songs kept the night feeling fresh and new and kept it interesting. Mohager’s energy on stage is electric and you can’t help but smile as he begins to dance around the stage with moves that you know damn well you couldn’t do yourself.

It was a fun and exciting set and, as someone who wasn’t all the way sold on them prior to last night’s set, I can say that I am officially sold and look forward to being able to see these guys again sooner rather than later.

Souvenirs was the first band to take the stage and, within one song, I was in love. They have this brand of music that has the power of Brand New with the beauty of The Early November all mixed with their own brand of pop-punk-ish rock. It was fresh and new but still brought my back to my angsty teenage years. It was so refreshing to see a band that obviously grew up in the same scene I did that has matured the same way I have. These guys proved that the music we all grew up on is not dead and, as someone who seems to be musically stuck in the early 2000’s, it was definitely a comforting sight and sound. Souvenirs’ newest release Posture of Apology is out now!

Seeing one of the bands that truly made you who you are for the first time is a feeling that you just can’t explain. Unfortunately, since I go to nearly a show every night and have seen almost everyone I could have ever dreamed of, I don’t get that feeling much. Last night I saw AFI for the first time ever and  felt like a kid again while singing along to the angsty anthems that truly pushed me into this lifestyle. 

To say last night was a life-changing concert wouldn’t be a stretch. 


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