If there were any doubt that punk quartet AFI would be rusty after a three-year layoff, those fears were quickly dashed away as soon as the band took the stage. Posing as if he were a boxer ready to do battle, singer Davey Havok quickly hopped atop one of the three risers set at the front of the stage and stretched his arms to the ceiling. Just one song into the 75-minute set, he dove into the audience for a quick bit of crowd-surfing. That energy carried the band throughout the high-energy show — even the moody new track “I Hope You Suffer” from the forthcoming new album Burial was delivered with punk rock passion.
The band delved back into its past by delivering straight-up hardcore tracks such as “A Single Second.” As much as those songs enabled members to scream and shout (and throw a few high leg kicks), they weren’t the highlights of the set. In fact, if you were to listen to the band’s early albums, you’d think the group was just another hardcore act. But it’s the band’s ability to blend Goth and horrorcore into the mix that makes it stand apart from the rest of the pack. Well, that and the fact that Jade Puget plays with such great style. Tracks such as the Smiths-like “17 Crimes”, and the anthemic “Miss Murder” are every bit as classic as anything by the Cure and the band delivered them with the grand gestures the songs demanded. Speaking of the Cure, the group also offered a cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” that was so faithful to the original, it would have made the British Goth icons proud.
The set concluded with a two-song encore that finished with a flurry of blinding lights and Havok graciously thanked the capacity crowd for such a warm welcome.