L.A.'s venerable Troubadour has seen a lot of big-name acts in recent months, from Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails to Courtney Love. But none brought the rabid fan energy AFI drew last night. Playing their first gig in four years, the Ukiah, California rockers took the stage a little after nine, and as they opened with the thunderous riffs of "Leaving Song II," the entire crowd sang along and pumped their arms.
As ready as the band seemed to return to the stage, the fans were even more anxious. It was the first time anybody could recall crowd-surfing and a barricade at the Troubadour.
That devotion and intensity was not lost on AFI frontman Davey Havok, who said to the audience, "Thank you for still caring." The group previewed songs from their new record, Burials (out October 22nd), including "I Hope You Suffer" and "17 Crimes," during the hour-plus performance.
The two new songs fit in nicely alongside old favorites such as "Beautiful Thieves" and "Miss Murder," both of which brought the same fist-pumping and crowd screaming as the opening. The fans didn't let up, and the band showed no rustiness at all as Havok came to the lip of the stage repeatedly to interact with the throng.
The band maintained the vigorous intensity through songs such as "Love Like Winter," "The Last Kiss" and "A Single Second." The only change of pace came during their cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," which held the same pop infectiousness as the original.
But the zealous 400 fans who sold out the pre-tour show in less than five minutes weren't there for pop hooks – they were there to let loose a torrent of energy. If Havok and his bandmates had any concerns about whether or not fans still cared four years after their last album, Crash Love, the Troubadour crowd laid those doubts to rest emphatically. Before the band returned for their encore, the familiar chant of "Through our bleeding we are one" (from the song "Strength Through Wounding") made it clear that AFI is back.
"Leaving Song II"
"Girls Not Grey"
"I Hope You Suffer"
"A Single Second"
"Love Like Winter"
"Ever And A Day"
"The Last Kiss"
"Brownie Bottom Sundae"
"Just Like Heaven"
"God Called In Sick Today"
"Days of the Phoenix"
"Silver And Cold"