AFI (The National, Richmond VA) Dreamed 3528 days ago | | 580 words

AFI was great. I’ve never seen them live before and it as a ton of fun! They didn’t play too much from the new album which was for the best. Torch Song, Medicated, and Beautiful Thieves made the cut as well as a 4th which escapes me.

Girls Not Grey, Miss Murder, The Interview.. really most of Decemberunderground was played as well as some choice cuts from Sing the Sorrow like Death of Seasons including the closer Silver and Cold (an odd choice in my mind to close on.)

That being said, AFI really needs to work on their pacing. I consider Nine Inch Nails one of the best set lists around. It’s not secret I’m a huge NIN fan. However, when Trent & Co. devise a set list it goes through highs and lows. Building you up and bringing you back down in a slow wave.

Putting a couple industrial grinding tracks together to make everyone go crazy. Then transition into instrumentals or slow tracks and finishing with Hurt or something equally soothing.

The set list tonight was up and down up and down up and down. It felt like being in the ocean before a storm. It was fast song, slow song, fast song, slow song. Perhaps that contributed to the my second thought about the evening.

Part of the concert-going experience is to go on the emotional and sonic journey the band has constructed for you. Following through the highs and lows. The swaying, jumping, clapping along. Losing yourself in the lights and sound and general din of your fellow fans.

With such a turbulent set list there was no rhythm to it. The fast song you just heart was immediately followed by something slow, then sped up again, repeated throughout the night. Better pacing and thought given to the speed of songs it would have made for a better experience.

Maybe I’m just showing my age here, but when did concerts become a sea of cameras and cameraphones? I remember when going to a show meant going to watch a band play live and move around. Dance. Thrash. Two-step. Jump. Whatever.


Live music is meant to be moved to. The crowd feeds off the band and the band in turn feeds off the crowd’s energy. If you’re not moving, you’re not doing your part.

This is not to say you shouldn’t take any photos of a band you love. That’s fine. Take a few shots. Put the camera away and dance!

AFI tonight was nothing but a sea of gluey-footed teens wielding cell phones. I was about midway back in The National in Richmond, VA. It’s a tiny venue to begin with so I wasn’t much more than 40 feet from the stage. In front of me, a sea of flickering screens held aloft outstretched arms.

When Davey knelt down, he was totally hidden by the phones. Annoying to say the least. When did concerts become photo opportunities?

Maybe I’m just getting too old and unhip but I remember when going to a show was all about dancing around and singing along. Coming home hoarse and sore. Waking up the next morning really feeling the show I’d attended the night before.

Am I too old or has the Internet changed people?

On a side note, I did count 3 actual lighters on slow songs.

Complaints aside, I did have a fantastic time and really need to get out to more shows. AFI was full of energy and thankfully stayed away from their groan-inducing latest release.


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