On Wikipedia and All Music, AWOLNATION are labeled as an “American indie-pop” band. What ensued at Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival was totally different than that label. With the screaming, guitar-gnashing, and big bold beats mixed with lead singer Aaron Bruno’s soul-filled voice, AWOLNATION can be likened to a punkier, artsier version of Foo Figthers, or rather, likened to no one at all.
AWOLNATION’s blend of instrumentation and electronics makes them totally unique.
Considering the early time of day and the oppressive heat, AWOLNATION drew a huge crowd, including people running up when they heard songs like “Not My Fault,” “Burn It Down,” and “Sail.” Bruno’s stage presence might have grabbed the random passerby heading to the nearest pocket of shade.
“I was afraid you guys wouldn’t want to party in weekend two,” said Bruno before deciding that, yes, his audience really did want to party. The musician preceded to request that “only girls are allowed to crowd surf,” which ensued in multiple girls taking that as a suggestion, including a little girl who came out holding a handkerchief to her bleeding nose, but a wide grin across her face.
The rule didn’t apply to Bruno who whipped out a surfboard and literally “crowd surfed” across the audience to a roar of applause.
“Thank you so much for joining us and making this moment a dream come true,” said Bruno sincerely before announcing the names of the band members. “Usually I don’t do this ‘cuz it’s cheesy but this is a special moment.” Bruno then proclaims that today is drummer Hayden Scott’s birthday.
“This is the ultimate celebration,” exclaims Bruno. “Let’s have a dance party right now.”
Nadia Nior, CBS Radio Los Angeles