This week saw the return to the OC of a local favorite, Davey Havok and A Fire Inside (AFI). It was the first of two shows at the House of Blues, Anaheim for their Bodies Tour.
It took little to no time for the House of Blues to get jam packed with AFI fans. Fans of the band came in all shapes, sizes, ages, and races. It was a virtual kaleidoscope of people coming to see their favorite NoCal band.
October 25, 2022
As it was the week before Halloween, some fans arrived in your typical costumes – sexy witches, Edward Scissorhands, Groovie Ghoulies – and of course black emo everything was spotted everywhere. Despite all the variations of uber-coolness, concertgoers were there for AFI.
With the macabre tapestry and volcanic, vibrant, black and purple outfits as the background, Drab Majesty was the opener. The LA-based duo of Deb Demure and Mona D were the perfect fit, reflecting their subtle, emo-inspired and Morrissey-esque undertones. I know, that’s kind of an oxymoron, but it really helps explain and paint a picture. Then, there is what Wikipedia says: “Drab Majesty combine androgynous aesthetics and commanding vocals with futuristic and occult lyrics, a style Demure refers to as ‘tragic wave.’”
Their sound, the lights, and the colors were a trip and a half. Because they were an opener, Drab Majesty had an abbreviated set. They delighted fans with some of their catalogue staples; “Kissing the Ground,” “Cold Souls,” “Not Just a Name,” “Oxytocin,” and “Dot in the Sky.” Many of the concertgoers were not familiar with them, but after this show they are, and you may see an uptick in their followers as a result of this tour with AFI.
After a brief intermission, the crowd was ready to welcome back AFI, and as the lights dimmed, smoke came from the stage, leading a path of creep cool for Havok to create havoc. It was unclear at first if this was part of the show, but strobe lights throughout the venue went off. It was way cool and I hadn’t seen that before; I’ve been there many times and had never seen this. Within seconds, the place had smoke from the stage entering the crowd, then, the lights came back up. As I looked around, none of the 2,500+ AFI fans were freaked out. It became clear it was the smoke from the stage that made the alarm go off.
In speaking with security, they confirmed it was just a result of the smoke machine, and I overheard a young woman say, “It really is A Fire Inside,” which drew laughter from everyone in my area. Just as we got settled, expecting a delay, boom… the lights came down just as quickly as they went up, and out came AFI!
Havok came out like a spinning top with his hair on fire, throwing his mic up in the air to “Paper Airplanes,” and quickly segued into “On Your Back,” then “17 Crimes.” The crowd went absolutely insane. I have seen some engaged crowds, but this crowd reminded me of the insane crowds I would see at Warped Tour back in the day.
AFI did not disappoint. With Havok behind the mic, Jade Puget shredded on guitar, Hunter Burgan slapped a mean bass, and Adam Carson wrecked the skins. The band was energy personified and belted out fan favorites “Endless She Said,” “She Speaks the Language,” “No Eyes,” “No Poetic Devise,” and “Looking Tragic” before they took a 10-second break.
Given the fact this crowd resembled Warped Tour vets, they didn’t need a break, so off they went back into it with “Feed from the Floor,” “I Hope You Suffer,” and then their mega hit, “Girls Not Grey.” With a wink, a smile, and his tatted sleeve, Havok came as close to the crowd as he could, and the fans appreciated the closeness they felt. They closed out with “The Face Beneath the Waves,” “Days of the Phoenix,” and their radio hit “Silver and Cold.”
No night would be complete without an encore, right? Being showmen that give their fans their money’s worth, AFI came back out to a roaring crowd. They belted out “Morningstar,” then “Celluloid Dream” before they called it a night.
Ask anyone in the house that night and they will tell you, for the money, AFI is the best damn band in the land, and they killed it in Anaheim.