April 12, 2003

AFI Burns Again in Chicago

By Randy J. Klodz

AFI made its first Chicago appearance in support of the major label debut "Sing the Sorrow," as part of the "Death to Spring Tour" that left the sold-out Riviera Theatre in awe after 60 minutes of fury on April 12.

Seattle’s spazz-rock youngsters, the Blood Brothers took the stage first with its double-barreled vocal attack of Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney, while Cody Votolato (guitar), Morgan Henderson (bass) and Mark Gajadhar (drums) rounded out the line-up. The packed Riviera crowd seemed stunned by the heavy melodies and screeching vocals on such tracks "Guitarmy" and "Burn Piano Island, Burn." The band may have also been a surprise to unsuspecting fans just arriving to the venue because the Blood Brothers were not listed on the Riviera’s outdoor marquee. The Explosion followed the Blood Brothers’ 30-minute set.

AFI—short for A Fire Inside—led by the vocals of Davey Havok, charged through its set as Jade Puget (guitar), Hunter (bass) and Adam Carson (drums) played host to the legion of dedicated fans. AFI’s loyal following was displayed as the line for the band’s merchandise snaked around the Riviera’s entire perimeter lobby, while the beer line remained nearly vacant.

Havok—dressed in black fishnets that covered most of the canvas of tattoos etched into his arms, infamous black eye make-up and trademark long-black hair that frequently hid his face—leg kicked and stage crawled with a Danzig meets Maynard James Keenan stage presence on such tracks as "Miseria Cantare (The Beginning)," "God Called in Sick Today," "Sacrifice Theory" and many more, including the hit single "Girl’s Not Grey." At the end of "Death of Season," Havok seemed to melt into the stage like the Wicked Witch of the West as his voice echoed throughout the Riviera as streams of lights whipped about.

AFI’s current stint in the United States is scheduled to run through May 25 when it hits the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, Mass. AFI is also schedule to make another Chicago appearance when the Vans Warped Tour makes its way to the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Ill. on June 29. For more information on AFI, log on to www.afireinside.net.

Davey Havok of AFI Photo: Randy J. Klodz