Mother Mother opens the concert with riveting keyboard solos and perfectly-pitched vocals. The crowd exploded after the long wait for the doors to open.
Mother Mother opens the concert with riveting keyboard solos and perfectly-pitched vocals. The crowd exploded after the long wait for the doors to open.

Listening to the radio is all well and good, but some bands are meant to be seen in concert– AWOLNATION is one of those bands.

AWOLNATION (AN) is an alternative/electronic rock band whose members include Aaron Bruno, Drew Stewart, Hayden Scott, Kenny Carkeet and Devin Hoffman. The band’s music combines elements of hard rock with keyboards and other synthesized sounds.

I first heard AN on an alternative rock radio station, and my family and I became fans almost immediately. Therefore, we were very excited when our current alternative rock station, 95X, held a contest for the concert on March 19, 2012. To be ready the minute the concert was announced, my mother and I prepared an email that was only missing the key word. The next day, while my mother was checking her email, she noticed the word “winner” in the “not important” section of her inbox. We were in.

In the weeks leading up to the event, we listened to as much AWOLNATION as we could. We also compared them to other bands, such as Muse and Filter. Our main purpose was to find out exactly what to expect at the concert.

AWOLNATION’s most popular song is “Sail,” which features raspy vocals and strong bass– typically not features of alternative rock. I believe that this distinction makes “Sail” more popular with the current mainstream culture, as well as a large variety of fans.

Alternative rock is normally enjoyed by people “stuck in the past,” as dubstep, electronic rock and pop are coming more into prominence. By changing the game, however, AN allows their music to cross genre lines.

The diversity of the music corresponds well with the uniqueness of the fanbase, as fellow concert-goers ranged from 30-year-olds with mohawks to 50-year-olds with desk jobs. As I was expecting a crowd of mostly teenagers and college students, I was pleasantly surprised.

Once stamped and banded, my mother and I moved to the front of the venue for our “meet and greet” with AN. The experience was definitely amazing, as we had our picture taken with the band and received a signed poster– something others can only dream of.

Blondfire appeared to go for more of a “goth” look, but fast beats and electronic sounds created a fun atmosphere. The female lead singer further differentiated the band.

The doors at the Lincoln Theatre opened at 7 (we were let in at 6:40), but the first band, Mother Mother (MM), did not begin their set until 8. MM is an alternative rock band, similar to AN, and their mix of perfectly-pitched vocals and dual keyboard use made them a popular addition to the concert.

Mother Mother’s set lasted around 30 minutes, but definitely warmed the crowd up for the next band, Blondfire. Blondfire, based out of Los Angeles, California, featured a female lead singer, an interesting differentiation from the other bands.

When the band members originally took the stage, they were all wearing black, prompting me to believe their music would be dark. I couldn’t have been more wrong. An electronic beat combined with faster and light-hearted vocals created a club-like atmosphere, minus the crazy bass drops, of course.

Blondfire left the stage shortly after 9, and staff members immediately began setting up AN’s instruments. I was hoping AWOLNATION would take the stage quickly, but they didn’t until around 10.

The minute AWOLNATION took the stage, the entire crowd started pulsing and pushing to try to reach them. Four security guards and a fence barely held back the crowd.

The effects used during the concert included a light show with strobes and multiple colored lights. Fans pulsed in time with the lights, which flashed according to the notes.

During the songs, many fans attempted to “crowd surf” over the barrier and on to the stage, before being stopped by security. While no fans made it to the stage, there were many attempts throughout the night.

Many a fist-pump took place, prompted by Bruno, the lead singer, who went crazy up on stage. His high-energy performance transferred into the crowd, pushing the excitement level further up the wall.

AWOLNATION played around 20 songs, including many singles off of their debut album, Megalithic Symphony. Songs ranged widely, from the screamo-esque “Not Your Fault” to the clear-cut and high energy “Kill Your Heroes.”

All of the songs, however, resulted in ear-piercing shrieks and pounding bass– a pleasant, albeit painful, experience.

Aaron Bruno pauses for breath during “Sail.” The delay between Blondfire and AWOLNATION was completely forgiven and forgotten as the band took the stage.

I believed the end of the show would be at around 11, due to the noise ordinance. Following multiple chants for encores, however, AN came back out and played until almost midnight.

The experience was definitely amazing, and we were all buzzing with excitement, although that might have been our ears still ringing, which continued for a few days after.

Imagine Dragons, here we come!


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