Tempe, AZ — Marquee Theatre hosted a sellout crowd for the return of AFI to the valley for the first time since their February 2017 sold out show at the same venue. The AFI “Bodies Tour 2022” stopped in this college town following a short COVID postponement, and included opener Drab Majesty with their unique ethereal sound to excite the fanbase. Known for high-energy live performances, AFI had their loyal followers fist-pumping and singing every song word-for-word. It was a memorable show to be sure and well worth the wait.
Playing in low-light with some dramatic smoke, Drab Majesty took the stage with their purposefully androgynous uniform look. The two-piece band sported white shirts with gray jackets, white face paint and black goggles, with matching white choppy hair. They had a synth-heavy sound with monotonous vocals, inciting memories of 80’s bands like The Smiths or Spandau Ballet. One fan was overheard comparing them to Joy Division, and they are not wrong. With choruses repeating lyrics like, “When you were dead, I took you by your head” from their song “Cold Soul”, they add a dark edginess to their seven-song set.
The “darkwave” band was formed in 2011 in Los Angeles, California by Andrew Clinco – aka Deb DeMure – who currently provides vocals, guitar, and percussion for Drab Majesty. DeMure previously worked for the group Marriages as a drummer from late 2012 until 2017 when the band apparently broke. He is joined onstage by keyboardist and vocalist Alex Nicolaou – aka Mona D – who joined Drab Majesty in 2016.
Their record label, Dais Records, claims “DeMure insists that the inspiration for the songs is received from an other-worldly source that Deb is merely a vessel through which outside ideas flow inward”. The duo have 3 albums on the label: Careless (2015), The Demonstration (2017) and Modern Mirror (2019). They have previously toured with The Smashing Pumpkins.
A Fire Inside
AFI is touring in support of their 2021 Bodies album, bringing “A Fire Inside” to Arizona, and what a show it was! The burgeoning crowd lit up from the first note of “Girls Not Grey,” from the 2003 album Sing the Sorrow. Frontman Davey Havok immediately climbed on a riser situated on the front of the stage, wearing a brass-studded vest with “Death of the Party” on the back, and the room exploded with energy. Havoc ran from one side of the stage to the other, and leaned precariously forward from the stage while singing directly to fans. When he wasn’t jumping from the riser, or swinging his microphone stand, he was belting out hit after hit from the AFI discography.
Onstage was Havok, along with original drummer and backing vocalist Adam Carson, with Hunter Burgan on bass, backing vocals and keyboards, and Jade Puget also provided backing vocals and on the keys. Their 18 song set was not shy of hits, including an intense version “Escape From Los Angeles” from 2021’s Bodies album, a super-sultry version of “The Boy Who Destroyed the World” from the All Hallows EP, and an encore including: “Third Season” from Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997) and “Silver and Cold” from Sing the Sorrow (2003). Notably missing from the setlist, however, was “Miss Murder”, from 2006’s Decemberunderground album.
Havoc knows how to connect to people and there’s a palpable love that’s reciprocated. While singing “I Hope You Suffer” from Burials (2013), he trusted the fans to support him as he walked across the crowd. You read that right. In some sort of biblical walk-on-water feat, he used outstretched palms to walk into the crowd about 10 deep. A feat to behold, to be sure, and a bit of a surprise to the Marquee’s bewildered security. Perhaps they underestimated the crowd, who would never, ever let him fall. Havoc is an icon, and AFI is in their bloodstream.
AFI moved on to the “When We Were Young Festival” in Las Vegas the next day, leaving Arizona fans fulfilled, for now. This show has left a mark on the band’s devotees. Sometimes watching a crowd enjoy a show is as exciting as the show itself, and this is one of those times. AFI just brings it.
Photographer: Rodrigo Izquierdo
AFI & Drab Majesty – Marquee Theatre 10-28-22
Photography © Reagle Photography
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