“Through Our Bleeding, We Are One!” The battle cry of The Despair Faction grew louder and louder, filling the walls of the Troubadour moments before AFI took the stage on Friday night.
Hometown show, record release show, and possibly most notable, a Despair Faction show, Friday night’s performance was unforgettable. Launching right into “Girl’s Not Grey,” the crowd exploded from the anticipation built up during the chanting of “Strength Through Wounding.” Not about to slow things down, AFI kept the energy up, performing “He Who Laughs Last…”, a track from their 1996 album Very Proud of Ya.
Newer and more casual AFI fans might not be aware of the band’s punk roots, but as this was a Despair Faction show, the crowd knew exactly what they were in for as soon as the first few notes were played. Constant crowd surfing, the fans surging and rushing the stage, and Davey Havok dodging stage divers add up to an experience that can only happen at a venue such as the Troubadour, where there is no barricade to separate the artist and the fans.
With 10 studio albums and over two decades’ worth of music to choose from, paring down the set list to only 17 songs was undoubtedly a difficult feat. Pulling from some of their older albums, AFI brought out some rarely heard live songs that the fans present were beyond stoked to witness in front of them. Each member of the band has an immeasurable amount of energy that they bring to each performance, and this was only amplified by the excitement of the crowd as well as the heavier, faster songs the band chose to perform.
As the record release show for AFI (The Blood Album), the songs performed from the group’s latest effort gave the audience a comprehensive taste of what they were in for. “Dumb Kids” was reminiscent of the AFI of old, bringing the fast bass line and the oft-longed-for punk sounds, while the ’80s dark-wave influenced “Aurelia” was hauntingly beautiful.
The Blood Album as a whole is full of musical maturity that showcases each member’s talents and strengths. For those who missed the sold-out show, there are two more LA dates coming up at The Wiltern in February. While the set list will likely be different, AFI is one band you don’t want to miss the chance to see live.
Strength Through Wounding
Girl’s Not Grey
He Who Laughs Last…
This Celluloid Dream
Miss Murder/Lost Souls
The Hanging Garden
Days of the Phoenix
I Hope You Suffer
Silver and Cold