Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Tuesday, July 2 @ U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, 10 p.m.
It’s ironic that AWOLNATION plays Summerfest on July 2, the same night that Styx will be headlining the BMO Harris Pavilion at the other end of the festival grounds, given how much debt the Los Angeles electronic-rock band owes those prog pioneers. AWOLNATION paid overt homage to Styx’s anthem “Come Sail” away on their breakthrough hit “Sail,” and proudly share that band’s more-is-more mentality. Their 2011 debut, Megalithic Symphony, lived up to its audacious title, bounding from cocky, David Bowie-esque pop songs like “People” to opulent, Muse-esque arena-rockers like “Soul Wars.” It was as patently ridiculous of an album as alt-rock radio had embraced in a good while, but alt-rock in the 2000-teens could benefit from a little more ridiculousness, and AWOLNATION certainly have more than enough to go around. A band that carried themselves like rock stars well before they actually were, in concert AWOLNATION is backed by a big, crowd-pleasing light show that’s perfectly suited for the group’s big, crowd-pleasing sing-alongs.