Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/1/16
SWEETWATER 420 FEST 2016
Sweetwater 420 Fest from day one has always been a mix of music types, like rock, reggae, and rap. This year there were several big name performers of today and yesterday: Kid Rock, Cypress Hill, The Roots, Bastille, Ludacris, and so much more. Kid Rock began his set with “Don’t Stop Believin‘” as well as “Cowboy Baby” peppered in and then ending with the beginning of “Purple Rain” before the heavens opened and drove the audience to shelter. Did Prince NOT want Kid Rock to sing “Purple Rain” or was it a coincidence? Hm. Bastille flowed their way on the stage with smooth tunes. Rebelation was perfect for Earth Day and 420 belting out reggae tunes like it was going out of style. That being said, we originally intended to do what we called Sweetwater 420 Fest in pictures and write something about each band, but in writing this blog, we realized we wanted to dwell on the band that nailed it, wowed us, and killed it.
What happened to the good old days of anything from AC/DC to old Metallica to STP to Ozzy Osborne? Where are the threading guitars, mosh pits, reverb, guitar solos, building musical solos that culminate in a flurry of instruments and noise, some real, unadulterated rock? There are a few bands that come to mind that is current and not-so-mainstream like The Joy Formidable and Silversun Pickups. We’re adding another band to that list that could be legendary: Awolnation. One of the staff for the production company that put on 420 was so wowed that he said they are the next headlining band. We argue, they already are!
With a mix of punk, rock, and harmony, Awolnation brought their A-game. When they entered the stage, dressed in mechanic’s jumpsuits, they kicked-off a great concert with hits like “Hollow Moon” and “Kill Your Heroes.” We wondered why do they wear jumpsuits on stage? We were hoping it was a shout-out to Lost’s Dharma Initiative. Pretty please? We couldn’t glean anything from the internet so there’s always hope. Crossing fingers. What we really enjoyed about Awolnation is they could have been just any other band that plays a bland melodic song with a mix of electronic and indie sound. We found they are NOT rock-lite or even good indie rock but much more. They know how to go all punk and rock-out and that was what really hit their performance home for us. The lead singer, Aaron Bruno, is also interactive and seemed to really enjoy his own music, which is refreshing. The Last song was, of course, the one that they broke on the rock scene with “SAIL!” A perfect mix of rock, electronic, and harmony. We, along with our friends in the general audience, were all too excited to hear it live. It didn’t disappoint. Rock on, AWOL. We promised our young niece a good show, so keep it up! We’re holding you to it…