Monday, January 20, 2014

AWOLNATION @ The House of Blues - Atlantic City, NJ 3/23/13

My oldest son is now concert going age. The first show I took him to was Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Red Fang at 11 years of age. the problem with that age they are a little overwhelmed and it's hard for them to stand and stay awake for the whole show. I also keep them in the back so the view isn't great.  Now that he is older I drag him along more to my shows more often but occasionally I let him pick the show.

A couple years ago Radio 104.5 in Philadelphia put on a free concert featuring AWOLnation and Imagine Dragons. We didnt go to that show and both artists blew up after that. He asked if we could see them both when they came back to our area and AWOLnation was the first to come around.

I am sure that you may have heard the song 'Sail'.  Who HASN'T heard the song 'Sail'.  They used it in just about every commercial and TV show.  Don't get me wrong, I love the song.  The build up and the intensity is inspiring.  Beyond this song though I didn't really know the band.  And what the hell did AWOLNATION mean anyway?

AWOLNATION is actually Aaron Bruno.  He was given the nickname AWOL because of his ability to disappear from parities without a trace.  He was formerly part of the critically acclaimed LA band Under the Influence of Giants whose influences and sound were heavily influenced by 70's soul.

After they disbanded Aaron was approached by Red Bull Records and was offered free use of the Studio.  There he was able to create the kind of songs that he wanted to make.  He partnered with Red Bull Records and many of those recordings became Megalithic Symphony.

As I listened to it in preparation for the show I was impressed of the span of genres that it covered.  You could dance to it.  You could bang your head to it.  You could get inspired by it. You could actually just enjoy it.  All this was wrapped into one, accessible package.    I was starting to get excited for the show.

AWOLNATION was performing at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ.  I had never been to that venue but it is at a casino so there will be easy parking at a decent price.  I was able to get advance entry tickets for $3.00 extra and I was excited about this as well.

We got there a little early and had dinner at the House of Blues.  When we walked upstairs the line to get in was HUGE.  We walked up to the usher and asked when we could go in with our advance entry tickets?  They opened up the velvet rope and we went right it.  We were the only ones inside!  Could it be that we were the only ones who purchased advance entry?  Really?  Tickets were only $25 and for and extra $3 this was definitely worth it.  We went over, purchased our shirts and took our place in front of the stage.

The House of Blues is a mid size venue.  It has a large, seated balcony with a standing room floor area.

There were two opening acts and we had a great spot.  This was a great lesson for my son.  Now that we had our spot we had to keep it.  We had a small drink and hit the bathroom and we were ready to stand.  There was a fence between the audience and the stage with security so I assumed there would be crowd surfing.  He was now old enough and big enough that I felt comfortable with him being this close.  Plus I knew I was there to look after him.

The first opening act was Mother Mother.  I remember them being ok but I can't remember how they sounded for the life of me so maybe that should tell me something.  They had both a male and female lead singer and they had a quirky pop sound.  I never followed up by listening to their music.

Next up was Blondfire.  My son and I both enjoyed them.  We actually listened to one of their songs on Spotify on the way home.

They also did the obligatory crowd shot.

AWOLNATION was up next.  I had to laugh because both my son and the girl next to me were complaining about the amount of young, screaming

When they hit the stage the crowd went wild.  The stage show was minimal but energizing at the same time.  I was impressed at how effortlessly Aaron hit his screams and growls.

We were there for the first time that 'Everybody's Got A Secret' was played live.

My son video taped many of the songs.  He was having an incredible time.  The sound was way too bass heavy to the point where it was distorted.  That is my only criticism of the venue.We did wear earplugs.

I wanted to protect our ears but still hear the show.  I invested in Earasers.  For $40 it just removes the harmful sounds and drops the volume.  They are comfortable and the sound is almost as if you are not wearing anything.  It takes everything to a comfortable level.

The crowd was electric.  They sounded great.  When the crowd started to crowd surf my son couldn't believe his eyes.  It was a sea of bodies. You can see in this video my son shot of 'Sail'.  We both laughed as one of the crowd surfers was wearing a horse head.  That was classic.

The set was finished with 'Sail' and 'Burn it Down'.  How could they follow this up with an encore?  Because everyone went crazy.

The encore was 'Knights of Shame'.  It might have been a little bit of a let down after how the show ended if he hadn't decided to stage dive right next to us.

It was a great night and a great experience for my son.  That night on the way home he uploaded his videos to YouTube.  It was a great bonding experience and it warms my heart how so many look after the kids in the crowd.  We still talk about this show.  Now all he could ask was when we were going to see Imagine 

See you at the next show1



  1. Well done my brotha! Sounds like fun. Mr. W, friend of the I-man

  2. Thank you my man. It is much appreciated. Tell the I-Man that Broadway called. They want their Jazz Hands back.


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