Deftones and AFI Rock the UK

Review: Deftones and AFI Rock the UK

Written by Dan Brophy

This summer has played host to the return of two of the world’s most prolific bands to UK shores. Between them, Deftones and AFI have a combined career span of over 50 years, and the union of the two groups sharing the stage together for the first time certainly did not disappoint. The two bands undertook a three day residency in the UK with consecutive nights in London, Manchester and Glasgow, and I was lucky enough to be present at all three dates.

The last time AFI played in the UK was seven years ago, during the cycle for their eighth record, Crash Love. Despite this lengthy absence, the excitement since that 2010 run has not diminished; if anything the band’s absenteeism has only increased the anticipation and enthusiasm of the sizable crowd that have arrived early to catch A Fire Inside take the stage tonight. The band open with an energetic and vibrant rendition of Girl’s Not Grey, a lead single from 2003’s Sing The Sorrow. Fourteen years later, this track has lost none of the live flavour it had when the hit album first dropped, and the same can be said for the Sing The Sorrow tracks that followed later in the set, from The Leaving Song Part 2 to live rarities This Celluloid Dream and Paper Airplanes. Mid-way through the set, frontman Davey Havok thanks the crowd for “not forgetting” in their absence from the stage.  The set is rounded off by multiple contemporary anthems from the band’s most recent efforts; 2013’s Burials as well as the quartet’s 10th studio release nicknamed The Blood Album, all of which were met with the same ravenous reaction from the adrenaline infused audience.

As a long-time fan of both bands, I found myself wondering how the combination of bands would go down. Whilst I was aware of a certain level of fan-crossover, there seemed to be a divide in the crowd between those here for AFI and those arriving for Deftones. However, over the course of AFI’s set, it seemed many who where in conflict were now converted; I even overheard one crowd member, sporting Deftones merchandise comment: “I came here for Deftones, but I am now an AFI fan”. By the end of each 45-minute set, AFI managed to synthesise equilibrium in the loyalties of the once divisive sea of fans. Of the three nights, the reception towards AFI was most positive in Glasgow, something possibly built up over the two previous shows, or a unique enthusiasm form the Scottish audience; either way, the incredible energy of this crowd was a astand out, and the band themselves clearly fed off this in a fashion unlike that in London and in Manchester.

After an impressively quick changeover, it was time for Deftones to take the stage, the first time in the UK since last year’s sold out performance at Wembley Arena. The setlists for this run have been carefully curated and are wonderfully eclectic, something not to be scoffed at for a band with eight studio albums along with a strong arsenal of b-sides and rarities. In classic ‘Tones style, the band tear through an assembly of songs beginning with Feicitera from 2000’s fan favourite White Pony, and seamlessly transitioning to gems taken from every studio release. Frontman Chino Moreno is as spirited and dynamic on stage as ever, throwing his all into the energy of songs like My Own Summer and Knife Party, and creating a hypnotic, magnetic vibe during those songs in which he takes on guitar duties such as with Entomed and Rosemary.

To close, for those in the crowd, whether a follower of AFI, of Deftones, or allied to both camps, one thing in common is clear: this tour will be one for the history books, and I for one hope that the stars may align again in the future to bring these two bands together on tour for another round.

Photo by Jodie Cunningham/Jodiphotography for AFI News HQ.