Photos By: Francesca Tirpak

By: Tyler McQuillan (Tall Tyra)

Whether you were an out-of-place parental chaperone, confused and angsty teenager stuck with one, or just out to listen to some good tunes, Wednesday was an evening day get boogie with it at the House of Blues. The evening opened up with a group out of LA who call themselves Irontom. I hadn’t heard of or listened to these guys before this show, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard. The group’s tracks feature a groovy yet danceable sound and their live performance is polished considering how young a group they are. They even have a pretty rad cover of Feel Good Inc. which, though not quite as stellar sounding as the rest of their tracks, was a fun and unique take on the song. I was a big fan of the energy they were able to cultivate as well. Even as an opening band, they drew a large crowd, filling up almost the entirety of the venue’s downstairs area. They were also able to get just about everybody there dancing along. Definitely worth checking out these guys if they play a cheap show near you!

Family of the Year, chiefly known for their track Hero, played second. Compared to AWOLNATION and Irontom, their sound is much more mellow, and I initially thought their sort of 90’s alternative vibe might stifle the energy Irontom had forged. That said, their set proved a wonderful reprise before AWOL. Boasting an awesome combination of great acoustic guitar, smoothly harmonized vocals, and a louder sound live than I had anticipated, they offered a relaxing yet uplifting hour of music. Their sound live is true and on point with their recorded work, though the bass was a bit heavy and felt overpowering at times. Otherwise, they sound terrific live.

After what seemed like an eternity’s wait as the staged was prepped, AWOLNATION came on and things took a turn for the crazy. Given this tour was dedicated to the group’s new album, Run, I was excited to hear some of their new stuff. Fortunately for myself and everyone else in attendance, we got just that as the group opened up with Run and included other new tracks such as “Hollow Moon”. If there is one thing to be said about these guys, it is that they need to be seen live for one to truly appreciate their music. The volume, bass, and enthusiasm of the band’s members highlighted the sheer energy their music embodies. Even those relatively quiet moments in their recorded tracks explode alive in concert, and there were few moments where the crowd wasn’t jumping or aggressively bopping along. I was particularly impressed with front man Aaron Bruno’s vocal endurance. The shout sounds he makes were both loud and frequent and proved a pleasant a complement to the band’s loud and in-your-face sound. He was also able to keep the rest of his vocals flawless and transitioned between signing and screeching seamlessly. All in all, these guys put on a hell of a show.

Check out their new album Run and be sure to catch them live when they return to San Diego next!