The Fillmore Sails Away With AWOLNATION


Blink 182 is coming to town with Tom DeLonge. That has nothing to do with the show I was at on Monday but the amount of excitement I feel about this is insane and I’m already plotting out the ticket-buying process and the day as a whole with a friend. This is not a drill. Blink 182 is coming to town. EEEK! Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system. Let’s move on and let’s talk about what happened last night at the AWOLNATION show.

Liverpool-born The Mysterines were the first act to take the stage and the only act of the three-band bill I knew nothing about but, after seeing them perform their opening set, I absolutely want to know more. Vocalist Lia Metcalfe was absolutely captivating with her not-so-sweet vocals that, at times, bridged into the 90s grunge world in a perfect way. Although overall the instrumentation didn’t really hook me, those vocals mixed with the overall flawless sound from the rest of the band had me sold. There was something almost dark and moody about their songs but also something infectiously poppy about them at the same time. When you look at the four members of this band, they look young but something about their music felt aged and seasoned in all of the right ways. With a few EPs and just one album, there’s clearly still a lot to come from this band and I have a feeling that Monday is not the last time I will be catching them live.

There was a time a few years ago when I felt like I was catching Badflower every few months. That’s not a bad thing but, eventually, I took it for granted and started writing them off. The last time I saw them was when they headlined The Varsity Theater back in October 2019. That’s when it all stopped and I honestly kind of forgot all about them. When they popped up on the line-up for Monday night’s show at The Fillmore, I knew I had to be there to see what this band had been up to so, if I’m being quite honest, they were the reason I was at the show. Although I don’t know that I will ever know where this band went for a couple of years, I was so relieved as they took the stage with the same amount of power and passion that they have always had.

Badflower’s start to the set wasn’t a typical start. Instead of blasting on the stage to catch your attention, vocalist Jeremy Katz sauntered onto the stage and just started singing one of the more ballad-like tracks from the band, “Move Me”. From there, the band did exactly what I expected them to do– they killed it. Each of the nine songs they played came with an undeniable sense of passion and love that was truly just staggering. Although the passion and energy you get from this band hasn’t changed, it felt as if something did shift in the songs that the band performs. They just seemed to take more of a serious turn. Maybe that explains why they fell off my radar for a few years, maybe that’s just called growing up, regardless, this new vibe from them didn’t ruin them for me but definitely shined a different light on the band. All in all, their set was absolutely amazing and I instantly regretted ever taking being able to see Badflower live for granted. I hope their being on this tour means they are ramping out for some more touring in the near future!

Headlining the Monday night show was AWOLNATION. Although I’ve never been a huge fan of this band purely due to just not connecting with their music as I do so many other bands, they have been on my bucket list of bands to see live so I was excited as they took the stage and jumped into their set. Are you sitting there trying to decide if you know wh AWOLNATION is or not? One word– “Sail”. Remember that song? Well, that’s the band but they are so much more than that single that has been certified six times platinum. They have a cult following that came out on Monday to show their support and that told me everything I needed to know about this alt-rock band. They have devoted fans and are devoted to said fans creating perfect energy throughout the Fillmore during their sixteen-song set.

Musically, AWOLNATION does very little for me. It’s not that it’s bad but there’s just nothing that sticks out to me about their tracks. That being said, seeing them perform those songs live did change things a little bit. The amount of energy the whole band brought to the stage was enormous and I loved the way that vocalist Aaron Bruno just couldn’t stand still. From climbing the stairs that lined the back of the stage to leaning towards the crowd from the edge of the front of the stage, I found his performance to be super engaging. Being a bit green to AWOLNATION’s discography, I couldn’t tell you what songs they played or from which albums said songs came but I can tell you that Aaron’s statement to the audience about playing some old stuff got everyone excited and that excitement never left the room which leads me to believe it was a “classics-heavy” set.

Although I didn’t leave the set on Monday with AWOLNATION being my new favorite band, I did find a new appreciation for them and now understand the hype around their live shows. I regret nothing about spending my Monday night with them, Badflower, and The Mysterines.