Film Review: AFI - MTV2 Hard Rock Live 2003

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AFI

MTV2 Hard Rock Live 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2003 was a break-out year for AFI.  After 5 albums on indie labels that helped them establish a strong grassroot following, they made the move to a major and unleashed Sing The Sorrow. “Girls Not Grey” and “Silver and Cold” earned them their first top 10’s, propelling the album to Platinum status while setting their next chapters in motion.

Amid their incredible rise to mainstream status, MTV2 brought us to Orlando and placed us front row for an episode of Hard Rock Live! while giving us a great look at the band doing what they do best.

“AFI…AFI…AFI,” the crowd chanted as the venue lights dimmed. The television program shows the band stretching and jumping with anticipation backstage as they listen to the crowd singing along with the intro of “Misteria Cantare – The Beginning” that’s playing over the P.A. system –  “Love your hate, your faith lost…”

This unbridled enthusiasm that the crowd showed before the band had even officially taken the stage, continued throughout the entire duration of the 5-song/20-minute performance. They naturally were well-invested in “Girls Not Grey” and “Silver and Cold,” screamed back the lyrics to “The Leaving Song Pt. II,” and clapped along with “The Days of the Phoenix” – the only song the group played that saw them stepping away from their most current album (at the time) and dipping back to The Art of Drowning.

Their onstage aura matched the darker tones wrapped within the instrumentation and lyrics. There’s energy embedded into each song and an unmistakable passion fuels Davey Havok’s vocals, but the group doesn’t talk too much between songs which helps them maintain the mysterious image they project through their music.

I’ve been listening to AFI since I first heard “He Who Laughs Last” and “Wake Up Call” on the Nitro Records compilation Go Ahead Punk…Make My Day in 1996. It’s always amazing to watch a band you grew up listening to, go from being a mostly underground act that’s pounding the pavement of small punk rock clubs, to having a run like AFI has had.

The group has shown incredible progression throughout the careers, and at this specific point there was a major transformation happening as they went from a band who once played straight ahead punk rock songs, into who they became as one of the genre’s elite by bending influences of punk into goth to stand atop the mountain – this TV taping is a perfect snapshot of that transformation era!

FULL SET LIST

1. Miseria Cantare - The Beginning

2. The Leaving Song Pt. II

3. Silver and Cold

4. The Days of the Phoenix

5. Girl’s Not Grey

 

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