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AFI - July 30th, 2006 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater

By: Jason Nelson

After nearly 15 years and seven albums, Northern California punk-to-pop band AFI has finally made it to the mainstream. With its new album “Decemberunderground” debuting at number one on The Billboard 200 and spawning the hit song “Miss Murder,” this group deserves all that it’s got coming.

AFI delivered an explosive set at the Agora Theater to a sold-out crowd that included actor Jared Leto and his band 30 Seconds To Mars sitting in the theater’s President’s Box. AFI’s set paid tribute to its hardcore past and provided an array of new tracks as well. As the band’s banner was raised high over the stage, the jam-packed crowd let out shrieking screams that nearly pierced the eardrums. A boisterous roar welcomed androgynous frontman Davey Havok as he took his spot at the front of the stage. He was decked out with fake eye lashes coated in extra-thick mascara, pink eye shadow and fingernails, black suspenders over a white T-shirt and matching white pants, and white lace gloves.

AFI blasted into its show with romantic opener “Prelude 12/21” from “Decemberunderground” and tore through the powerful, chant-overloaded mayhem of “The Leaving Song, Pt. 2” and straight ahead into “Dancing Through Sunday,” both from 2003 album “Sing The Sorrow.”

Songs like “This Time Imperfect,” “Silver And Cold” and “Ever And A Day” (from 2000’s “Art Of Drowning”) sent the crowd into a whirl with rabid circle pits sprouting here and there. While Havok, guitarist Jade Puget and bassist Hunter Burgan flew back and forth, leaping on top of and straddling the amps that were scattered across the cluttered stage, they nearly collided with each other on several occasions. The band then took a minute to thank its fan club, The Despair Faction, and all of its followers as they presented AFI with a bag that contained a very long chain of letters from around the world that the group draped about the stage.

Following “The Days Of The Phoenix,” “Girl’s Not Grey” and “Totalimmortal,” Havok and crew headed backstage for a few seconds to catch their breath before emerging for the night’s monstrous closers: “Death Of Seasons,” “God Called In Sick Today” and the finale, “Miss Murder.” The crowd belted out the lyrics of the last song, nearly drowning out Havok up to the very last note. Clearly, AFI is a favorite in the home of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. [END]

Click here to view a full set of pictures from this AFI show.

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