AWOLNATION at Heaven
Los Angeles quintet AWOLNATION took full advantage of the terrestrial insinuations that London’s Heaven club lent them. Slinking on stage with a collective cool, it was clear the band was prepared to show the eager audience their development as a group since playing in the capital last year.
Their 2011 debut album, the aptly named Megalithic Symphony brought a full to capacity crowd of rowdy and passionate fans, running the gamut from crowd surfing punker teens to 30-something groups of friends scrambling to head bang with the latest buzz band. But that’s just the thing. AWOLNATION have all the sound-of-the-minute components to fall into the dreaded swell of West Coast electro-clash noise of late: staccato synths, raging drum loops, four-to-the-floor aggravation, a ménage of powerful sounds melded together with an erratic cohesiveness. They’re wholly saved, though, by frontman Aaron Bruno’s commandment of the stage, swooping in with a disheveled ingenuity, extracting every last authentic emotion from both band and audience, and building a wave of entranced elation and sonic turbulence.
Signed to Red Bull Records in 2010, the surge of joy produced from energetic track Kill Your Heroes would befit a band touched by huge commercial airplay and extensive arena touring. AWOL achieve this by the power of their songs – a blend of intelligible and unique lyrics with bombastic instrumental layering, creating an onslaught of electronic bacchanalia, epitomized in their best known song, Sail. Oozing synthesized-sex-appeal and one of the catchiest keyboard riffs this side of the noughties, Sail sends Bruno into impassioned vocal anarchy asking: “Maybe I should cry for help, maybe I should kill myself, blame it on my A.D.D. baby” – a line that clearly resonated with the young audience.
Highlights included rock heavy Burn it Down, wherein the eager-eyed singer instructed the crowd to crouch on the floor, making the whole building shake. AWOLNATION is a band that gives the audience what it wants, and entirely vice versa.
This is dance music for four-legged freaks, and it’s fantastic.
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Watch the video for Sail here: