AFI / Dillinger Escape Plan Kool Haus, Toronto, ON - June 15, 2006

"How many of you are going, ‘What the fuck is that?’” joked Dillinger Escape Plan front-man Greg Puciato mid-way through the band’s frustratingly short opening set for goth punks AFI. Staring into a sea of stunned faces barely old enough to drive, it was a fair question. They were clearly not prepared for the onslaught of jazz-structured metal blasting them into the land of the hearing impaired. Yet it didn’t stop Puciato and crew from hammering away at those eardrums. Sadly, despite a hearty performance, Dillinger’s night was a missed fan-grabbing opportunity due to a severely toned-down performance. Puciato paced about the stage more than he ravaged it. Of course, the rest of the band engaged in instrument juggling and flailing, yet for this show, these guys were under wraps. After a lengthy changeover that found old schoolers desperately struggling to teach the greenhorns recitation of the anticipatory "Through our bleeding we are one” mantra, AFI eventually broke out onto a sterile white stage clouded in smoke. Pretty and crisp in their all-black uniforms, AFI were quickly pelted with adoring screams and marriage proposals from the crowd. Naturally, posturing ran high, most notably from singer Davey Havok and guitarist Jade Puget, who appeared to be sucking lemons the whole night, his lips were pursed so tightly. Regardless, musically AFI was spot-on. The set was keenly weighted in favour of 2003’s Sing The Sorrow with the understanding that latest effort Decemberunderground —represented by single "Miss Murder” and "Summer Shudder,” which transfer well live — is still too new to be chant-along material and the other five albums have yet to sink into the new Despair Faction’s brains. Songs did venture back as far as "Days Of The Phoenix” and "Ever And A Day,” and Black Sails In the Sunset pleaser "God Called In Sick Today,” which found Havok venturing out for his nightly head-stomping crowd walk. Everything was impressively tight, energetic and professional. Sure it was a touch cheesy but it still proved the beneath the coiffed hair and false eyelashes still lies one tight fucking band.