Music / Review

AFI make their mark after 10 years away from Australia

We catch legendary California punks AFI in full force as they headline Forum Melbourne.

It’s their first Australian tour in 10 years and AFI are quick to make up for lost time as they open with fan favourite, Girl’s Not Grey, at Forum Melbourne. 

By this point, supports Basement and Introvert have already made easy work of warming up tonight’s eager crowd, delivering passionate sets that fire in slightly different directions.

Newcastle’s Introvert encapsulate everything that’s great about Australia’s DIY punk scene. They possess a raw energy reminiscent of international influences like Touché Amoré and Defeater, with their own naivety which ensures they’re intriguing enough for first-timers.

All the way from Ipswich, UK, Basement return to Australia for the first time since their 2016 headline tour. Still performing with their wounds wide open, the British punks have mastered their own style as they swoop between subtle shifts in tempo.

Any time in between bands is spent basking in the glory of the Forum Theatre’s recently renovated interior. Fans line the venue’s tired levels patiently, pouring over into the round green booths and down onto the dance floor. It’s here where you really feel the impact of the Forum’s grand, Greco-Roman architecture, offset by the iconic blue hue of the twinkling sky-ceiling which has been glittering gigs since the venue was built in 1929.

“This is honestly one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever played,” says Basement singer Andrew Fisher as he leans up to take in the full view.

AFI leave no inch of the stage untouched as they fill the space with vivid shades of red and purple, bleeding into bold bursts of white light which flicker between choruses.

Love Like Winter, 17 Crimes and The Days Of The Phoenix still capture the California headliners at their most powerful, with The Blood Album’s Snow Cats slipping especially seamlessly into the set.

Mixing up their setlist from Sydney, the band leave fans waiting for their synonymous 2000 hit, Miss Murder, until the final minute. As the all-familiar bass line creeps in, the floor explodes with arms and iPhones to seize the moment (and make sure it’s shared on social media). With the drum beat pulsating through the Forum, Davey Havok conducts a room full of wild Aussies chanting the song’s title lyrics.

Just like that, after 10 years of absence in Australia, it feels like no band has ever been greater than AFI.

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