Snow can't stop the rock at Magness Arena
A crowd of thousands steamed up the windows of the Magness Arena Sunday night as AFI, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Say Anything and I Fight Dragons hit the stage while temperatures outside dipped into the single digits.
It would be hard to put together a more manic bill than this one, organized by KTCL for its Not So Silent Night festival. AFI, who have departed significantly from their SoCal punk roots in recent years, maintained their rebellious energy even when singer Davey Havok was belting out midtempo songs that seemed to belong on a Morrissey album. But scattered among the band's chartclimbers ("Medicate;" "Girl's Not Grey") were vicious nods to AFI's hard-edged early efforts — just to prove that the band can still go hardcore with the best of them. Havok was also happy to play with rumors about his sexuality; vamping and snuggling up with guitarist Jade Puget in ways that would make Adam Lambert blush.
Say Anything, whose singer Max Bemis was repeatedly institutionalized for emotional problems during the first half of the decade, were flailing, howling perfection with an appropriately seizure-inducing lightshow. Openers I Fight Dragons threw down an impressive synth-rock ruckus using modified Nintendo controllers for instruments. While the concept seemed gimmicky at first (why play a jury-rigged Power Glove when a keyboard will work just as well?), the band gets major points for its commitment to '80s style and the seamless integration of a Power Pad dance-off into its act.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus were the odd men out, delivering an album-perfect but surprisingly dull live show. Most bands would seem static taking the stage immediately after Max Bemis had finished thrashing it, but even so, the band seemed heavy on hair but light on presence. Still, fans looking for familiar songs faithfully executed got what they wanted. Guitarist Duke Kitchens did not miss a trick, freaking the guitar through his impressive bangs like an old-school metalhead.