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Concert Review: AFI at Epic in Minneapolis, MN


AFI Promo Shot:  Courtesy of AbsolutePunk.net

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to catch AFI at Epic in Minneapolis to review the show for TheyWillRockYou. AFI is one of my favorite bands to see live. During their last tour in Minneapolis (at the same venue, but when it was known as the Quest Club), I ended up buying three tickets. One of my friends couldn't make it, and the show was sold out, so we sold the extra ticket to one of the super-duper-mega-passionate-obsessed fans for $100!  (Yeah!  Drink money!) So I knew that the next time they came through, I best get my tickets in advance! I almost wasn't sure whether I was going to be going to the show or not until Friday morning, but Mary worked her magic, so thank you to her and the label for the hookup.  (What?  You think I actually pay to go to concerts?)

I got to the venue around 30 minutes before the doors opened. It was a cloudy/rainy night, but the line still extended around the block, and nobody seemed to mind it that much. I was excited to not only see AFI again, but to see the new Epic since I'd never been there since it was the Quest Club. There were a lot of good shows and good memories there, so I was hoping to start new ones here.

It's kind of fitting that the venue they played at was called Epic, because that's what a lot of fans waiting in line were hoping that the show would be. Many of the fans were seeing AFI for their first time, and many of them traveled across the country to make it to the first show on the tour. Now THAT's passionate! Traveling across the country and standing the rain hours before the doors open. Well, it's either passionate or insanity - or both.

We got in, and I headed to the most important part of the venue outside of the stage... the bar. My regular SoCo & Coke would start the night off perfectly. I was a little let down by the interior of Epic. I remembered the Ascot Room fondly and saw some great shows there. Epic looks too much like a dance club instead of a concert venue now, but who cares, as long as it's a great show.

The opening band was Gallows, from the United Kingdom. I'd never heard their music before, but I came away impressed. They were a great opening band for a band like AFI. Maybe I'm still immature (probably), but I'm still thoroughly entertained by British accents; not pronouncing the R's at the end of words, keeping the T's silent, etc. I couldn't make out some of Frank Carter's stage banter, but he certainly had charisma. He'd sing the last two songs IN THE CROWD, a la Butch Walker. A couple nice circle pits and some catchy music would be the perfect precursor for AFI.

I've had Crash Love for awhile, and I was lukewarm towards the album at first. It certainly wasn't as good as DECEMBERUNDERGROUND to me, at least before seeing them life. There are a handful of bands where, once I see them performing the new material in a live setting, it enhances it for me, and once I give it more listens, I get really into it. AFI's not that type of band, but this album certainly was.  The set list was as follows (links to streaming audio on last.fm):

Torch Song
Girl's Not Grey
The Leaving Song Pt. II
End Transmission
Kill Caustic
Silver and Cold
Nyquil
Beautiful Thieves
Dancing Through Sunday
The Leaving Song
On the Arrow
Death of Seasons
Veronica Sawyer Smokes
Love Like Winter
Medicate

Encore:
6 to 8
Miss Murder

For all of those long-time fans seeing the band for the first time, they really put on an excellent show for them. Davey Havok has a style and charisma all his own where he's able to connect with the crowd so easily. Botched stage dive attempt aside, the band was "on" tonight. From the new material, I thought that Torch Song, Beautiful Thieves, Medicate, and Veronica Sawyer Smokes were the best songs live, with the latter being my personal favorite.

AFI's constantly grown and evolved with every subsequent album, but they still have a rabid, passionate fan base. While I don't know the precise capacity of Epic, the club was packed upstairs and downstairs on this rainy Minneapolis night. If you're on the fence, for whatever reason, about going to the show, make up your mind fast before it sells out - if it's not already. And if you're like me where the album didn't grab you after the first few listens, you'll feel otherwise once you see them live.  Excellent show!

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