Saturday, October 17, 2009

AFI is back!

After a long wait, AFI is finally back with its eighth CD, Crash Love. Decemberunderground came out way back in June 2006, and though the band toured heavily in the interim, it still seems like ages since we've heard from them. The new CD is once again a departure from their past work, something AFI seems to specialize in; they never seem content to stay with one 'sound'. At first listen, Crash Love seems poppier than previous efforts, but that's just a first impression. The songs grow on you, as good music does, and more and more layers open up on further listens.

Of course, AFI never shines as much as when they're onstage, and that hasn't changed one bit. AFI shows may be short (usually just over an hour) but they're packed full of energy and sincere showmanship. Davey Havok seems totally at ease and confident, chatting with the crowd as if they're old friends. And most of them are. For the kickoff of the Crash Love tour, AFI played Minneapolis on October 2nd. Davey mentioned playing the same city way back in the 90's, and an audience member immediately professed to having been there. AFI is the kind of band that attracts diehard, devoted fans. Fans who will line up for hours in cold, miserable weather in order to be front and center. For their efforts, they'll get crushed by fans behind and abused by crowd-surfers, but to them its well worth a close-up view of Davey, Jade, Adam and Hunter.

I attended three shows in two weeks: Minneapolis, Sayreville NJ and Pittsburgh. The setlist varied a bit, but was heaviest on Crash Love (of course) and Sing the Sorrow. At least one very old song was included in each show ("Ny-quil", "Half-Empty Bottle") and of course their MTV hit "Miss Murder". All in all, the crowd seemed extremely pleased, singing every word as loud as Davey.

The stage and the band were resplendent in black and gold; they look great and sound better. If you get a chance, check out AFI when they come to a town near you. They're touring the US and Canada for the rest of the year, then they'll be off to Australia in early 2010. Then they'll likely hit Europe, and then come back for another swing through the US. Here are the announced dates:

10/17/2009 Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom Hampton Beach, NH

10/19/2009 The National Richmond, VA

10/20/2009 Gallery of Sound Scranton, PA

10/21/2009 Scranton Cultural Center Scranton, PA, United States

10/23/2009 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD

10/25/2009 House of Blues Boston, MA

11/3/2009 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, OK

11/4/2009 The Pageant St. Louis, MO

11/6/2009 Uptown Theater Kansas City, MO

11/7/2009 Riviera Theatre Chicago, IL, United States

11/9/2009 The Fillmore Detroit Detroit, MI

11/10/2009 The Sound Academy Toronto, ONT, CA

11/12/2009 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA

11/13/2009 Roseland Ballroom New York, NY

11/15/2009 House of Blues - Myrtle Beach North Myrtle Beach, SC

11/16/2009 Tabernacle Atlanta, GA

11/18/2009 Pompano Beach Amphitheatre West Palm Beach, FL

11/19/2009 House of Blues Lake Buena Vista, FL

11/21/2009 Verizon Wireless Theater Houston, TX

11/22/2009 Stubbs Austin, TX

12/15/2009 Winnipeg Convention Ctr. Winnipeg, MB, Canada

12/16/2009 Prairieland Park Saskatoon, CAN

12/18/2009 Shaw Conference Center Edmonton, CAN

12/19/2009 Big Four Building Calgary, AB, CAN

12/21/2009 Save On Foods Centre Victoria, BC, CAN

2/20/2010 Soundwave Festival Brisbane, AU

2/21/2010 Soundwave Festival Sydney, AU

2/26/2010 Soundwave Festival Melbourne, AU

2/27/2010 Soundwave Festival Adelaide, AU

3/1/2010 Soundwave Festival Perth, AU

Please check out for more info, and go buy Crash Love!