Column by Tad Unruh
Unruh is a senior radio and sociology double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
You know AWOL like the Military term, “absent without leave.” The sense of musical accomplishment and great live sound seemed to be AWOL this past Tuesday. Playing the ever present 70s ballroom “Dazed and Confused” imbued vibe of the Val Air Ballroom, AWOLnation, next in the line of electro-pop-punk-metal bands looking to make it big through cross country tours and extensive plays on Spotify.
Two friends grabbed me for a Tuesday night show, and we were off to go AWOL.
AWOLnation’s set began with my favorite song of theirs, “Guilty Filthy Soul.” While the song may or may not be homage to the TV gangster scene of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” it was an energetic way to start the show. The layered fuzz guitar blasted through the speakers as lead singer Aaron Bruno squelched his way through the buzz ballad. Halfway through, the song turns to its chorus for a popping piano lick, which allowed for maximum sing along possibility. This song would be the highlight.
What I could guess as a 16-year-old next to me somehow knew every single word and was shouting them as loud as he possibly could. Even on their most famous song, (used in two car commercials), “Sail,” the chorus which utilizes many long chants of “SAIL, SAIL, SAIL,” the teen shouted them, arching his back high enough to let the band and everyone else in the ballroom know that he was the biggest AWOLnation fan in there.
I did enjoy the concert but felt underwhelmed by the bands most intriguing part of their music, their sing along nature. Some of the songs bled together and felt more of a wall of noise than their extremely cleaned-up studio album. Also the rowdiness of the crowd wasn’t what I had expected. It ended up being tame, noisy and overall was not my favorite concert I’ve ever been to. If you’d like to pay $20 to have your ear drums blown out with minimal melodies? Then this is the band for you.