AFI, Nothing and Souvenirs sing the sorrow at Union Transfer - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
AFI | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN |

On January 20th, Cali goth-punks AFI released their newest album, AFI (The Blood Album) in correlation with their first show of the album’s support tour in Los Angeles, California, at the Troubadour. This tour has been making its way around the country with Chain Gang of 1974 and fellow Californians, Souvenirs; last week, Chain Gang exited the tour and Nothing hopped on, just in time for the Philly dudes to come home and play to a sold out crowd at Union Transfer.

AFI haven’t caused much of a stir since their 2006 release, DECEMBERUNDERGROUND, and let’s be real, everyone was playing “Miss Murder” on repeat for months to follow; it’s been on my 2000s hxc playlist for quite some time now (pun intended). Their 2003 release, Sing The Sorrow is the album that launched the band into the fame they once knew back in the early 2000s punk era, however, as previously stated, the band hasn’t been in the limelight much since.

Hopefully the release of AFI (The Blood Album), which definitely does have some jams on it, will help lead the way up the ladder to the fame the band once knew. And signs seem to be pointing in the right direction as their Philly date was sold out, with fans of all ages packed from wall to wall within the 1,200-capacity venue.

Souvenirs | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN |

California rockers Souvenirs took the stage first, draped in one long string of lights; the band began to mesmerize the audience from the very first note. Although this band’s sound is definitely different from tour headliners, AFI, they still were able to captivate the audience with soothing guitar melodies, diverting into riffs everyone could bang their heads to.

Nothing | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN |

Next to play were Nothing. They kicked their half hour set off with “Hymn to the Pillory,” the first track off of the band’s 2014 release, Guilty of Everything. The band captivated the audience, like they always do, with their dense guitar melodies paired with the light and airy vocals courtesy of guitar players, Nicky Palermo and Brandon Setta. Palermo took a few moments early on in the band’s set to have the audience give it up for AFI and thanked them for bringing them out on tour. “It’s so cool they brought us out, even though we’re awful degenerates,” said Nicky with laughter in his voice. This was followed by the introductory notes of “Chloroform,” one of the band’s two songs off of their split with Whirr, which was put out in 2014 via Run For Cover.

The rest of their set included a variety of songs off of Guilty of Everything, as well as their newest release, Tired of Tomorrow, which came out last summer. Toward the end of the band’s set, Palermo did was he does and rest of Nothing does best — defy authority — when Nicky casually jumped off stage and into the crowd, where he straddled the barricade (despite how uncomfortable that might have been) and played the rest of the song half in the audience.

AFI | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN |

Last, but certainly not least, AFI took the stage, greeted by a roaring crowd of diehard fans. As soon as the venue lights dimmed and the background music faded out, the sea of people eagerly awaiting the headlining band, automatically shoved themselves forward, causing everyone up front to be sandwiched between the crowd and the barricade. Drummer Adam Carson came out on stage first, followed by guitarist Jade Puget and bassist Hunter Burgan. A few moments passed before lead singer Davey Havok made his grand entrance.

The band led right into their first song of the night, “Strength Through Wounding,” a throwback to the band’s 1999 release Black Sails In The Sunset. After the first couple songs, Havok thanked the crowd for coming out to the show that night, and announced that something special was going to happen.

“We’re gonna play this song for the first time ever,” said Havok. “And it’s from 2003.” This introduction led into “Paper Airplanes (Makeshift Wings),” a song from the band’s hit record release, Sing The Sorrow. This wasn’t the only throwback of the night, of course. Later on in the band’s set, they played “On the Arrow” for the first time since 2010, which was a bonus track song from DECEMBERUNDERGROUND‘s iTunes edition, as well as “Hearts Frozen Solid Thawed Once More By the Spring of Rage, Despair, and Hopelessness”, also played for the first time since 2010. It’s a song that appears on the 1999 compilation record, Short Music for Short People.

Havok and the band, along with the rest of the crowd, jumped and thrashed around the stage for the rest of the band’s set before going into the band’s most famous singer, “Miss Murder,” which was sung back to Havok at ridiculous volume —  “HEYYYYY MISS MURDER CAN I?” — and ending their set with “Morningstar” before coming out for not one, but two encores for the sold out Philly crowd. Check out more photos and the full setlist from the show below!

AFI setlist:

Strength Through Wounding
Girl’s Not Grey
17 Crimes
Paper Airplanes (Makeshift Wings), live debut
Still a Stranger
The Leaving Song Pt. II
On the Arrow, first time live since 2010
Hearts Frozen Solid Thawed Once More By the Spring of Rage, Despair, and Hopelessness
Snow Cats
End Transmission
Silver and Cold
The Days of the Phoenix
I Hope You Suffer
Miss Murder

Encore 1:

The Hanging Garden, The Cure cover
This Celluloid Dream

Encore 2:

He Who Laughs Last…

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