AWOLNATION put on a magnificent show at the Fillmore in Detroit on Tuesday February 13th.
The band is touring to spotlight their brand new album, “Here Come The Runts”, which was released on February 2nd.
Beginning the night was the tremendous band, IRONTOM. Comprised of some AWOLNATION members, IRONTOM brought high energy, rock, and catchy songs that made a memorable impression.
Lead singer Harry Hayes was an exceptional showman, ever dancing and gesturing, while smiling a warm smile.
The LA gents are touring in support of their latest album, “Partners”, which made its debut last summer. They made sure to include tracks from the new release, and encouraged the crowd to sing along, especially during “No matter what”.
The title track, “Partners”, was certainly an indelible highlight.
The band exclaimed, “Detroit! We’ll be at the merch booth, we’d love to meet you!”
True to their word, the band stuck around to meet and greet fans abound. They even had a few free pins to give out.
They closed out their night with “Be Bold Like Elijah”, inspiring the crowd to put their hands up.
They made a tremendous pairing to both bands that were yet to come.
Next up, Nothing But Thieves charged through their set.
“We are Nothing But Thieves from London, England!”
Early on, lead singer and guitarist Conor Mason apologized to the audience, making it known he had the “worst cold ever”, but with the absolute power of his voice, it was impossible to tell.
The band filled up the stage with both prescence and sound – sonically in the same vein as greats like Royal Blood and Queens Of The Stone Age, yet with a rocking, unapologetic vibe all their own.
Nothing But Thieves also invited fans to come say hi at the merch booth, “If you loved our shit”. The crowd was full of loyal fans, dancing and singing along throughout the set.
The band also encouraged fans to make some noise for their predecessors, IRONTOM.
Though their set was short, their impact was most assuredly strong.
AWOLNATION’s set started just before 10 PM. Under dim lights, the mood was set with a south of the border intro. The stage was furnished with all the makings of an AWOL living room, complete with area rugs, snake plants, cacti, and a wooden backdrop.
Casting a sharp shadow, lead singer Aaron Bruno stepped to the mic with a wide-brimmed hat and a serape that read simply, “The Runts” across the back. Soon into the set, Aaron shed the serape, and hung his hat on a nearby cactus.
The band hit hard with high energy from the start with the lead track off of their incredible new album, “Here Come The Runts”. Guitarist Zach Irons shredded and jumped about, each member of the band an absolute rockstar.
Next up, AWOL jammed out “Hollow Moon”, a track from their last record, “Run”. The audience was sufficiently amped, dancing and singing along to every word.
Back to back, the band kicked out more jams from their latest album with singles “Seven Sticks Of Dynamite”, and radio giant, “Passion”. They made sure to include a seamless transition into short track, “Sound Witness System”, sans its introductory rap.
Next, the band began a somewhat stripped down version of a magnificent song off of their first record, “Kill Your Heroes”. Before the song they exclaimed, “Detroit, we love you more than you could possibly know!”
During “Guilty Filthy Soul”, AWOL got everyone clapping along, and encouraged the audience to put their cell phones high in the air.
Before “Table For One” from their latest album, Aaron Bruno expressed a heartfelt introduction.
“This song is about falling so deeply in love with one of your friends that it just breaks your heart… just like it is going to break my heart to leave you guys tonight. This song is called ‘Table For One'”.
Aaron picked up a bouquet of flowers in one hand, and placed a rose between his teeth. He handed the bouquet to a fan in the front row, and tossed the rose into the crowd. A lovely gesture, on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
During “Miracle Man”, Aaron jumped into the pit and reached out his hands into the crowd, being warmly embraced by anyone within arm’s reach.
He expressed, “I feel like this dance floor is about to fucking lose it! That Detroit Rock Energy! We’re so excited!” The crowd went wild to end the song, jumping and dancing throughout the theater. After the song concluded, he asked, “Is everyone ok?” A resounding cheer answered without an actual word.
“This song is off our first album, ‘Megalithic Symphony’. I wanna turn this into a dance party right before my eyes!” AWOLNATION started into “Not Your Fault”, and the dance party wish was granted.
Next, with just Aaron’s voice and a strumming guitar, the band started into “A Little Luck And A Couple Of Dogs”. The guitar quickly transitioned to the intro from Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Under The Bridge”, and the crowd went nuts.
To close out their set, AWOLNATION ended with the last track off their latest record, an upbeat jam entitled “Stop That Train”. Bruno yelled, “Let’s freak out, let’s freak out!” – ever encouraging the crowd to have a great time.
After the song concluded, the band thanked the audience, and exited the stage.
Cheering, clapping, and stomping in the balcony continued until AWOLNATION graced the stage once again.
They started again with 2015’s kickass track, “Run”. With his hands on his hips, Aaron sang, “I am a human being capable of doing beautiful things”. Before the musical breakdown, he yelled, “HANDS UP! Run!” and the energy throughout the Fillmore was palpable.
“I want more sweat! I want more sweat,” Aaron yelled.
It was obvious throughout the show that each band was excited to be in this city. Before closing out the show, Aaron expressed, “When I first started writing songs many many years ago, I always wanted to say this… Everyone knows all of the punk rock and hip hop history here. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to say – THANK YOU DETROIT!”
AWOL ended their night with their absolutely massive hit, “Sail”. Before its completion, Aaron introduced the band. “Zach Irons on guitar, Danny on keys and wizards, Mike on slap bass, and of course your favorite, Isaac Carpenter on drums”.
He also continued with some wise advice… “Always remember, music is a place to turn to. When you don’t know what to do, you can turn to a song. Thank you so much! God bless!”
AWOLNATION will be continuing their “Here Come The Runts” tour throughout the US into March before heading across to Europe and the UK in April.
AWOLNATION left no doubt that the rest of their tour will be a resounding success, and made a clear statement that they are definitely one of the best bands making music presently.
1. Here Come The Runts
2. Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)
3. Seven Sticks Of Dynamite
5. Kill Your Heroes
6. Guilty Filthy Soul
7. Table For One
8. Miracle Man
9. Not Your Fault
10. The Buffoon
11. A Little Luck And A Couple Of Dogs (with the intro to “Under The Bridge”)
13. Stop That Train
15. Burn It Down
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell