AFI @ Roseland Ballroom

NEW YORK, NY—While arguing whether or not leprechauns are British, Irish or both, I also wondered where lead singer of British punk rock group Gallows had disappeared to. As the only openers for AFI’s current tour in support of new album, Crash Love, I bet the pressure was on to really cause a stir, especially at the large Roseland Ballroom.

Finding myself all the way in the back of the venue, already a few songs into the set, it was apparent singer Frank Carter had jumped into the crowd for a few songs. Just as he had done over this year’s Warped Tour, he put himself in the heart of the big circle pit close to the stage. I wish I had been up in the mezzanine at that point to see the pit’s reaction.

Having just seen both Gallows and AFI at the smaller venue, Starland Ballroom, a few weeks ago, I spent a little too much time comparing the evening’s performance to that at Starland. It’s surprising that no matter what size venue they play at, Gallows tends to keep a punk vibe, whether it be jumping from the bars at Starland or jumping in with fans at Roseland.

I was a little lost in their set as their current album, Grey Britain, was just released this past spring and I’m sure the band is eager to play as much as they can from it. Unfamiliar with the new material, I kept thinking each song was “In The Belly Of A Shark,” but kept being wrong. My knowledge of their music needs to be broadened.

Yet another exciting set by Gallows can be added to my list of concert outings and it proved to be a nice warm up for AFI. Also, you can’t deny the charm of a British accent, even when sprinkled with obscenities and the like.

No matter how many new albums AFI puts out, the desire for older material will always remain. I was surprised at the lack of old standards, but you could feel how much they were enjoying playing songs off Crash Love. They started things off with “Torch Song” from that album and worked a little backwards.

They went right into my favorite track off Sing The Sorrow, “Girl’s Not Grey,” and I could hear the crowd roar with approval around me. Next up was “Kill Caustic,” off previous album Decemberunderground, and now I awaited songs from their years spent with Nitro Records.

To my surprise, they stuck with only incorporating songs from Sing The Sorrow in the set alongside the newer material. I was upset “God Called In Sick Today” wasn’t included on the set list, but they made up for it with slower tracks off Crash Love. The light show on stage with them adds further to the dramatic, rock star attitudes they brought to Roseland.

One song that was brought out of hiding that night and dedicated to their openers was “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing.” That would prove to be the band’s oldest track played on this leg of the tour or even at Starland, I was missing the classics like “Days Of The Pheonix.”

Having another enjoyable time with Gallows, here was another time spent with AFI where their set flew by. Yes, they did an encore, ending on “Silver And Cold,” a slower choice as compared to previous tune of “Miss Murder.” The band got to show off even more of their dramatic side while the audience enjoyed another chance to show off their knowledge of AFI lyrics.