A (rock) star is born in A.F.I. front man Davey Havok. With skin-tight black vinyl pants, eyeliner, long black hair and red lips, the ultra-energetic, lyrically melodramatic and charismatic Havok is an unlikely if worthy idol for the dressed-down “TRL”-watching teens who worship Incubus, et al. But that’s the crowd — a near-equal mix of male and female — that A.F.I. had chanting every word at the sold-out Palladium.
With Havok’s likable, genuine stage persona and incendiary performance, bolstered by ultracapable instrumentation (especially guitarist Jade Puget), backing vocals and harmonies, A.F.I. often came off like Tool meets Foo Fighters with lyrics by Sylvia Plath. By the sixth song, Havok stage-dove into the adoring audience, where he’d find himself several more times during the compelling 55-minute show. Havok’s vocal range is wide, at once brooding and inspirational, and with angst, intelligence and eyeliner, the fervent front man fulfills the promise evidenced on the band’s latest album, “Sing the Sorrow” (DreamWorks). A.F.I. made the leap from Offspring leader Dexter Holland’s Nitro Records to DreamWorks this year.
A.F.I. have a strong command of dramatic pop songs, while tunes like ” Morningstar,” a lush, slow-tempo singalong epic, garnered as much enthusiasm as the quartet’s energizing, raw punk — songs not unlike the offspring of the Offspring.