Aside from having some of the best acoustics of any venue in Melbourne, The Forum is also a favourite for the fantastic snake of fans that lines the front steps and travels up the iconic Hosier Lane. Sunday night was no different with AFI fans representing early, for was stacking up to be a great show, on this their ‘The Blood Tour’
AFI (A Fire Inside) have been a stalwart of the punk rock/alternative rock/post hardcore/emo type genres since 1991 and have managed to maintain the same line up for most of their existence. With a large worldwide following spanning across multiple age groups, it is no wonder their shows are jam packed.
Having produced ten studio albums, 10 EP’s and a live album, there is definitely no resting on their laurels.
Whilst their more mainstream following did not come about until after their 2003 release Sing The Sorrow, it becomes very apparent when you listen to some of their very early material, compared to more recent material that they have grown significantly as a band. Maturity and technique being much more refined. Davey Havok has one of the most unique voices of his time and uses it to within it’s full capabilities.
For tonight’s performance they are being supported by two bands, the first being Introvert from Newcastle NSW.
My initial thoughts on this band, whom I had not been familiar, was that their vocals sounded a tad flat in tone, but as they progress through their short set it became apparent that it simply was just their sound. Musically quite tight, they were at least able to get the attention of the crowds flowing into the venue. Dropping several hints along the way for the crowds to head to the merch stand to see what they had on offer.
Second support for the night were a five piece outfit from England called Basement. And while I had heard of them before, I could not say that I had listened to much of their material. From the get-go however I found them to have a really appealing sound and the vocals were on point. With huge amounts of energy being injected into their performance, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed their set. Having toured here a number of times previously, they have gained a decent following, and spoke fondly of enjoying being back in Melbourne. The set finished leaving me wanting to immediately find more of their music to add to my collection.
As with most bands of this genre, there is usually so much energy on stage that you have to feel for the photographers in the pit, as they jostle to get the best action shots they possibly can.
With brilliant lighting that did not disappoint, it was straight into ‘Girl’s Not Grey’, ‘17Crimes’ and ‘Beautiful Thieves’ with Davey Havok leaping and running from each side of the stage. Keeping the in between moments fairly banter free, they continued along into ‘This Celluloid Dream’, ‘Paper Airplanes’ and ‘So Beneath You’.
With Hunter Burgan on bass, and Jade Puget on guitar exerting just as much energy, it was certainly one of the most high octane shows I have been to in some time. They crowd was lively and bouncing across the Forum floor, with many riding hands. They were also in fine form vocally with every song being sung loud and proud.
For me, being the first time actually seeing AFI, I found myself really enjoying it, and had to remind myself regularly that I should be taking mental notes along the way to relay. However, it was too easy to get lost in the performance as it was so good.
Throwing up tracks like ‘The Despair Factor’, ‘Morningstar’, ‘The Days of Phoenix’ and ‘Snow Cats’ continually seemed to be giving the fans exactly what they wanted as they only seemed to get more and more pumped up as the set went on.
“Love Like Winter’, ‘Feed from The Floor’ and ‘Silver And Cold’ were definitely received with a rousing welcome, as was ‘I Hope You Suffer’ which closed the main part of the set.
It was a very short break before the encore, which saw two of their best songs, ‘This Time Imperfect’ and the ultimate closer, ‘Miss Murder’ complete their night at the Forum.
As the sweat soaked bodies started to filter up from the front of house, it was evident that there had been a good time had by all in attendance. Nothing says ”Hell yeah what a show” more than being dripping wet, pumped and thoroughly exhausted at its conclusion.
While prior to the show I had only been a moderate fan, I can honestly say that the performance given, would definitely give rise to me investing in more music from these solid, hard rocking guys. And even though they have been around quite some time, I would like to hope they will continue to pull out shows like this one, and return to our shores soon.
Next time I would like to experience it from closer to the pit in order to really absorb that infectious energy that both the band and the crowd bounced off one another.
Review Contributed by Jodi Marino
Full Gallery by Matt Allan can be found below