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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    AWOLNATION sailed into a powerful, sold-out Rialto show

    Selena Quintanilla

    AWOLNATION performs at the Rialto Theatre Wednesday, Oct. 12. The electronic rock band has released two studio albums and continues to tour around the world.

    Electronic music lovers and indie-loving hipsters alike all converged downtown Wednesday night for a chance to see these two musical elements combine at the Rialto Theatre. The fans poured into the theater in droves, eagerly awaiting to see AWOLNATION take the stage at its sold-out concert.

    The electronic-rock band hails from Los Angeles and has attracted diverse fans over the years due to its varying musical styles. Best known for its 2011 smash hit “Sail,” AWOLNATION commanded the Rialto stage throughout the performance.

    Another group of electronic alt rockers took the stage to open the night. The band 888 got the crowd going before the headliner came on and succeeded in building the hype for the main act.

    “It was incredible playing here, and this is our first time playing in Tucson” said Aaron Rothe, keyboardist for 888. “We’re huge fans of AWOLNATION and obviously we got to open up for them, so that was a big deal, and the crowd was awesome. We had a blast.”

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    Although many of those in attendance had primarily come to see AWOLNATION, 888 still felt the love. The band poured its heart and soul into the performance. When the audience thought that 888’s set had concluded, the band surprised everyone with a coordinated drumming set where all three members gloriously pounded a drum at the front of the stage, creating a powerful effect as the audience members sat back in awe.

    The band also hung around after the show to meet fans and take pictures, giving the performance everything it could hope to expect and more from an opening band.

    “The best part about performing is the traveling and the people you get to meet every night,” Rothe said. “It may sound cliché, but its true.”

    Fans now eagerly awaited AWOLNATION’s turn to take the stage. The lights went out as the room held its collective breath in anticipation until a man in a spacesuit walked onstage. He stayed there briefly as the crowd cheered and cheered, then he left as quickly as he had come, never seen again throughout the rest of the show.

    It seemed unclear as to what this moon-man’s exact purpose was, but he certainly succeeded in getting the crowd even more fired up.

    The way that AWOLNATION and frontman Aaron Bruno performed proved that some people were just born to capture an audience and musically consume people’s minds in a way that very few can. 

    Bruno had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he took the stage. Magnificent beard and all, he moved with the music and entertained the entire venue.

    “One of my favorite things about music is the way it brings us all together,” Bruno said onstage. And he was right; it certainly does.

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    It became apparent that AWOLNATION’s music was meant to be seen live, as Bruno took the audience on a journey through such ballads as “Not Your Fault,” “Run” and “Woman Woman.”

    At one point, Bruno said that he wanted everyone to start waving their arms back and forth, at which point he went into “Kill Your Heroes” and as he sang “I say ya kill your heroes and fly, fly, baby don’t cry,” it really felt like the entire room could, in fact, fly.

    The band played a set that lasted about 75 minutes, including an encore that ended with “Sail.”

    After bursts of hardcore dancing from the audience, Bruno would ask “Is everybody okay?” And our collective sentiments simply responded “Yes, thank you for checking, Mr. Bruno.

    Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter

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