posted on September 23, 2012 05:09
“The nation is strong in St. Louis, ladies and gentlemen!!”
Those words were spoken by AWOLNATION front man Aaron Bruno to a packed house at The Pageant in The Loop on Saturday Night. The Los Angeles based electronic rock band brought their ‘Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Fate Tour’ for a stop and a long sold out engagement. AWOL brought along support from Las Vegas based-indie rockers Imagine Dragons and Austin, TX based hip-hop artist Zeale.
As a mostly younger audience packed a sea of humanity on the floor of the Pageant, Imagine Dragons kicked things off with an absolutely electric 45 minute set. Having heard a little about the band prior to the show, I was very interested to check out their live offering. With a sound somewhere between The Killers and Young The Giant, the four piece band lead by front man Dan Reynolds were most certainly on point on this night. Their power packed 8 song set was more than solid from front to back and some could argue they stole the show. Songs like the anathematic ‘Radioactive’ and the reggae infused rock blend of ‘On Top of The World’ showed why this band has generated such as buzz as of late.
The Pageant was on fire as the first notes of the infectious, mandolin driven radio single ‘It’s Time’ echoed throughout the sold out house as the crowd sang the chorus with a sea of arms flailing. This song has been well received as of late and is the first off the band’s recently released major label debut ‘Night Visions’. The new album was released in early September and had the highest chart debut for a rock album since 2006 which is more than notable. The band closed their set with the huge sound of ‘Nothing Left to Say’ as the venue was a frenzy of energy and musical goodness. The band seemed perfectly in sync as they gathered around drummer Daniel Platzman’s kit for an explosive finish as the crowd went nuts and the band closed things out. Definitely keep an eye on the lads from Imagine Dragons. Something tells me we may be hearing quite a bit from them in the very near future.
With the stage set, AWOLNATION was up next and was greeted with a big welcome. After previous St. Louis gigs at Pop’s and at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for 105.7’s Pointfest earlier this Summer, the band has most definitely established a base of fans here. And those fans were greeted by a perfect blend of electro rock and enough deep bass synth to smack you in the face. In front of a pulsating, white AN logo and red logo flags flying high above, the band brought forth energy and their usual blend of rock, electro-pop, soul and more led by front man Aaron Bruno and his great 5 piece band.
With material pulled heavily from their 2011 release ‘Megalithic Symphony’, the band and their energy was didn’t waiver from an 11 during the 75 minute set and the members of AWOLNATION could not have been more approving. Big songs like ‘Guilty Filthy Soul’ and the tribal beat and soulful reggae feel of ‘Wake Up’ were surely early set highlights. It must be stated that front man Aaron Bruno is complimented by a great band and they were on display on this night. Driving bass from bassist David Amezcua led the band through a new song called ‘Kid’ while Bruno growled “This kid is not alright!” into the mic.
The electro-funk of ‘Jump on My Shoulders’ featured quite an audience singalong as the set moved into the middle stages. A new song called “Cannibals” highlighted front man Aaron Bruno’s strong vocal variance and was surely a highlight that felt like some sort of Southern rock revival as the line “The cannibals are out tonight” slowly waved over the audience like a fog. Machine gun like drums blasted out from Hayden Scott’s kit as the big sound of ‘Kill Your Heros’ literally shook the Pageant with bass. The soulful groove and old rock feel of the aptly named ‘Soul Wars’ was up next and saw the AWOLNATION front man literally standing on top of the pit as members of “the nation” did all they could to hoist him into the air as he finished the song in a very cool moment.
The revival sounding tones of ‘All I Need’ were next as Bruno quipped to the crowd “Reach over and put your arm around the person next to you. Especially if you don’t know them.” With that, The Pageant swayed back and forth arm in arm as the crowd took over singing the chorus with smiles on their faces in what was most definitely one of the songs of the night. As the 15 song set moved towards an end, the band could not leave without breaking out the familiar synth beat of their platinum hit ‘Sail’ as the crowd absolutely lost it with the opening notes. The venue was a sea of dancing, crowd surfing and more as the audience lapped up each and every second of it.
The frantic sound of ‘Burn It Down’ was next as front man Bruno sent the entire Pageant floor to their knees with instructions to explode up on his count. He gave the nod and the whole place blew into a frenzy of music that had to be seen to be believed. The band closed out the set with an extended version of ‘Knights of Shame’ that saw the front man doing a victory lap around the Pageant via the tables and greeting his faithful followers. After standing for a second to take it in Bruno hopped behind the drum kit to close out the show in front of a sea of lighters and cell phones shining brightly as the band traded shredding solos to close out the set. With that, the band waved and exited to a thunderous ovation.
All in all, this was great night of music with an eclectic mix of styles that complimented each other perfectly. The fresh new sounds of Imagine Dragons will be one to watch and the energy and variance of AWOLNATION is second to none. Definitely check out the ‘Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Fate Tour’ if it makes a stop near you.
Get more information on AWOLNATION at their website by clicking HERE.
Get more information on Imagine Dragons on their website by clicking HERE.
AWOLNATION – The Pageant - St. Louis, MO 9.22.12
Guilty Filthy Soul
Not Your Fault
Jump on My Shoulders
Kill Your Heroes
All I Need
Burn It Down
Knights of Shame
Imagine Dragons – The Pageant - St. Louis, MO 9.22.12
On Top of the World
Nothing Left to Say
Check out past interviews and reviews in the archive by clicking HERE.
Follow my ramblings on Twitter: @JBoyd024