Photos and review by Jenna Hughes
Goth-punk band A.F.I. returned to Atlanta January 18th to play a sold out show at Center Stage. The band, which has been relatively quiet since the 2009 release of Crash Love, has now come back strong with its ninth studio album, 2013’s Burials. A.F.I. (short for A Fire Inside) has made some noticeable changes to its image, casting aside the gothic make-up and dark clothes of the past and embracing a new, more contemporary look. The band’s fans have clearly embraced it as well, filling every inch of the standing room floor as they eagerly awaited the band’s return.
As the lights went down, the crowd began to chant, “Through our bleeding, we are one,” a lyric from the song “Strength Through Wounding,” which has become a veritable anthem throughout the fan base. The band members slowly trickled on stage to the opening riffs of “The Leaving Song Part 2,” which had the crowd screaming from the very start. Front man Davey Havok was virtually unrecognizable in a black leather jacket with an inverted cross on the back and a much shorter, slicked back hair style as he climbed atop the drum kit and jumped off as the beat dropped. His energy was infectious as he worked the crowd, jutting his microphone out for them to sing along several times. “Girls Not Grey,” the band’s first major hit from 2003’s Sing the Sorrow, came next, followed by new song “I Hope You Suffer.” Havok actually leapt from the stage during the song, letting the fans hold him up as he serenaded them for nearly its entirety.
A.F.I.’s sound has definitely changed with Burials, with significantly less hardcore screaming, but the new songs still have an edge that is all the band’s own. “17 Crimes” leaned more to a punk sound, while “Heart Stops” was a dark love song reminiscent of The Cure. The band kept the set going with “Love Like Winter” and “Miss Murder,” from 2006’s Decemberunderground and “God Called In Sick Today” was a nice surprise from 1999’s Black Sails in the Sunset.
The crowd began to chant again for an encore and A.F.I. did not disappoint, returning to the stage with a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” “Dancing Through Sunday” and ending the night with fan favorite “Silver and Cold.”