Summer of 2015 has already been an epic concert season for Clevelanders, and we are only now heading into July. If you haven’t hit up a show yet, damn, you are missing out! Especially last night’s (Tuesday; 06.30.15) sold-out AWOLNATION show. The concert gods saved the best show for last this month.
After wowing thousands upon thousands during their set at Bonnaroo in Tennesse earlier this month, AWOLNATION, the brainchild of frontman Aaron Bruno, scaled down for a more intimate show at the 1,200 capacity House of Blues.
On tour in support of their sophomore release, ‘Run’ (03.17.15; Red Bull Records), AWOLNATION brought a show filled with a mixture of songs with loud bass and synths to ones with soothing melodies. Opening with the title track from their new record, Bruno and company entered to dim lighting as they made it through the haunting first verse. When the bass dropped to start the chorus, the crowd erupted to a wild rumpus that would not cease until the night’s end.
The Los Angeles natives followed with the lead single from ‘Run,’ “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” and “Jump On My Shoulders” which saw lead singer Aaron Bruno jumping into the crowd. Luckily, he stayed off fans’ shoulders, but startled the entire front row, nonetheless.
The bright pulses of light that followed each bass drop had fans jumping all night, while the backlit stage created an eerie mood that fit perfectly with the sound and aesthetic the band has. AWOLNATION carefully crafted about their show so that fans would not only enjoy it at the moment but also forever stands out in one’s concert memory bank.
The 15 song set was nothing short of impressive. AWOLNATION showcased various musical methods they have experimented with on both albums. In addition to the new fan favorites from ‘Run,’ Bruno led the band through songs from the band’s 2011 debut, ‘Megalithic Symphony,’ including “Kill Your Heroes,” along with the soothing and passionate “All I need,” and, of course, the band’s chart-topping hit, “Sail,” which closed the night.
AWOLNATION ‘s performance guaranteed more sell-out crowds on return trips through Cleveland. Critics may have provided mixed reviews for ‘Run,’ but I doubt any critic (and certainly not this critic) would give the live show anything but two thumbs up. Hearing the songs live provided fans with a new perspective on the band’s music. For skeptics who don’t think AWOLNATION can match their albums’ sound in a live setting, I challenge you to attend a show and find out for yourself that you are sorely mistaken.
Support act Family of the Year brought a slightly different sound to the stage, but fans accepted them nonetheless and enjoyed every melodic note they played. The group strummed their acoustic guitars proudly and showed the rock fans at the show that indie rock and folk can but just as cool. Their beautiful acoustic sound mixed with some light keyboard rifts and upbeat drum lines most certainly made an impression on the crowd, and not because they stuck out in the lineup of bands, because they were just plain great.