There is only one way to heat up this unusually chilly spring here in NYC and that is with some great music. Earlier this week, the epic AWOLNATION, as part of the Live Nation‘s second Annual National Concert Day presented by Citi, gave New Yorkers a chance to unleash their wild souls. Not only did they accomplish a night of amazing music, but also they made sure to win over every person at Irving Plaza.
With a VIP pass in hand, Punchland got balcony wide seats to a short yet memorable evening. Roughly a year ago, AWOLNATION performed at Irving and what a contrast the two performances were. Irving was now decked out in promotional material everywhere listeners looked with black Live Nation and Citi banners plastered on every wall, balcony and stage. Got to hand it to the marketing department, they knew how to advertise well. Luckily, Irving still held true to their unique style while proudly displaying their ginormous disco ball and two lovely crystal chandeliers. Among the stage and by the soundboard were cameramen who were setting up to capture video of the whole show. Their effort in that regard was minimal, due to the intense entertainment the audience later shared with everyone.
Observing the crowd slowly entering the space, VIP listeners were easily distracted as AWOLNATION lingered to and fro from the greenroom and beyond for photo shoots and interviews. There may have been a few fans who snuck in because a poor bouncer was being yelled at right by the door from his manager. That must have been rough. Fans up in the balcony were extremely friendly and were excited for the night to begin. One fan in particular was a mother who had a VIP pass so she could watch her children down in the crowd with a careful eye. Eventually, the lights dimmed and cheers began to bellow from every corner of Irving.
Kenny Carkeet’s synths and keys started the show off to a soft and somber sound. The lights from the instruments were all lit up in the darkness. Almost immediately following the bass dropped hard. AWOLNATION came out and wasted no time. Drummer, Isaac Carpenter, confidently began pounding away with no shirt on, naturally. Lead singer and founder of AWOLNATION, Aaron Bruno, took his classic control of the microphone with both hands constantly cradling. In the bright red and yellow lights all five musicians looked sublime. Irving was in a fit of never ending vibrating pleasure as fans jumped with hands raised. It was a mesh of strong madness.
AWOLNATION always made sure to bounce around onstage which the crowd often imitated. All of it was a cheering anthem of rock and roll blending into thrashing head banging hair. Isaac’s drumming was epically insane. Fans and the band jumped together to his infectious beats. In fact, the cheers never ceased to stop. People were swinging and hanging from the bars of the balcony loving every minute of it.
Each musician and was totally enamored with their instrument. Aaron was in a full black jumpsuit as he held the black mic stand high with the red wire dangling down below. All five members were clad in different colored dark jumpsuits. Viewers had to love Aaron’s dancing. He danced almost like how anyone would dance in their bedroom to good tunes. It was mix of robot slide and the Pulp Fiction dance. Aaron made sure to keep his hands up throughout. Kenny had wonderful timing and transition with the inclusion of each instrument. Isaac constantly looked everywhere for inspiration as he hammered down with the sticks. A smile never seemed to leave his face. Marc Walloch on bass and Zach Irons on guitar were leisurely at ease as they unveiled their power together to complete the musical enjoyment.
As mentioned earlier, every cameraman was busy getting shots of the audience every chance they got. Listeners loved the funkiness of it all. Even though AWOLNATION provided a wonderful show, it is worth noting that they were a bit more tamed than last time. However, this notion was easily removed once the smell of pot finally made its way up to the balcony. Bliss commenced following. The most anticipated song of the night was Woman Woman. God, it is such a good song. Live, it is a much deeper and toned-down tune. Listeners may have missed the chorus. However, the song went on for a lovely instrumental journey at the end. Succeeding that amazing song, Isaac provided an intensely satisfying drum solo that was hardcore to the bone.
Almost like a call to arms, the moshing began down in the audience. It was rough as usual. The moshing only increased as Zach’s guitar wails became more elaborate. Each solo was intricate and passionately wonderful. Everyone got low and then the moshing magnified. Right before the encore an irritating pulsing lingered before their return. With cell phone lights out instead of lighter flames, AWOLNATION finished it off with Sail. It was at this moment when the moshing evolved into crowd surfing. Every fan that proceeded to crowd surf were therefore safely carried out. Although they were pulled away, Aaron made sure to touch each fan’s hand as a reward for their crowd surfing dedication.
AWOLNATION held true to their power and passion. With their eclectic sound, music fans everywhere can dance and smile with ease. Listeners who love the blues, alternative, rock and roll and even a touch of metal will find something to love with AWOLNATION. However, they will continue winning people over for years to come. Go give them a listen, if you have not already.