AFI February 18, the Joint.
“Almost 26 years we’ve been doing this,” AFI singer Davey Havok announced midway through the band’s show at the Joint on February 18, adding that it’s been 21 years since he and his bandmates first came to Vegas, performing at the Huntridge Theatre. Havok is only 41, which means he’s been in AFI since he was 15, and he and his current bandmates have been playing together since 1998. That makes the California goth-punk veterans an efficient hard-rock machine, as they proved over the course of a solid but brief set that lasted barely 70 minutes.
Although it’s been a while since AFI’s last radio hit, the Joint was packed with fans, who started a chant of “We are one through our bleeding” in anticipation of traditional show opener “Strength Through Wounding” before the band even hit the stage. The audience moshed and crowd-surfed and sang along throughout the show, and while the band members played with enthusiasm, they didn’t quite match the crowd’s energy. Havok pulled off a somewhat subdued version of his trademark move, standing literally on top of the crowd (supported by the hands of fans in front of the stage) during “I Hope You Suffer,” but otherwise kept the interaction to a minimum.
The setlist drew from the band’s long history, going back to 1999’s Black Sails in the Sunset and up to January’s self-titled album, with a pretty even mix. Fans responded just as strongly to ’00s radio hits “Girl’s Not Grey,” “Silver and Cold” and “Miss Murder” (the latter two of which closed out the show) as they did to lesser-known album tracks, including the old-school punk of relative obscurity “The Boy Who Destroyed the World,” dedicated to opening act Nothing. When Havok said good night after a little more than an hour, it was clear that the audience was eager for more.