Our State of the Awolnation report: 3 things to know about the alt-rockers

Awolnation is stopping Raleigh, NC, for its Here Come The Runts Tour in support of the album, "Here Come the Runts."
Awolnation is stopping Raleigh, NC, for its Here Come The Runts Tour in support of the album, "Here Come the Runts."

For those proclaiming that rock and roll is dead, Awolnation would argue that there is plenty of life left in the genre.

While it may be true that the pop music populating the Top 40 marketplace is more beat than guitar driven, the Los Angeles-based alternative rock band has cultivated a large following of young listeners in a relatively short amount of time. Since forming in 2009, the group has managed to pull in a number of gold- and platinum-selling records and singles, and have quickly become a mainstay on streaming services' playlists of top songs at any given time.

That's to say nothing about their live shows. Already hailed as one of the most electrifying live performances touring today, they are scheduled to take the stage of The Ritz in Raleigh May 30 in a barnburner of a show.

Missio and Irontom, two of the most buzzed-about young acts currently in rock, will open.

If you are only familiar with the band through their radio hits — "Sail," "Woman Woman" and "Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)" — here's a short State of the Awolnation Report.

1. Expect just as many nods to classic rock anthem sounds as electronica.

While Awolnation made their mark with their 2011 single "Sail", which went on to multi-platinum success behind its electro-rock synthesizer sounds, their latest album, "Here Come the Runts," features songs that would feel right at home on a Journey album. When writing the songs that would become the band's third album, released in February, bandleader Aaron Bruno found himself inspired by the rock songs that have largely worked as the soundtracks to sporting events for the past 30-odd years.

Even if you haven't had a chance to listen to the new album before attending the show Wednesday night, trust us, you'll be able to differentiate the older material from the latest.

2. Constant touring created a more optimistic sound for the band.

The thing about becoming an overnight sensation is that there is a ton of legwork involved, so when Awolnation found themselves as a breakout band in 2011, they packed their bags and spent more time on the road playing and promoting over the past seven years than being at home with family.

After spending night after night playing the downbeat tunes that made up the setlist for many of those shows, once Bruno was able to spend some time at home with his wife and friends, the lyrics he found himself writing were infused with an optimism heretofore unheard by the band's fans. "Handyman," one of the singles, falls in this category.

3. If you criticize the band, don't leave a paper trail.

Musicians have long had a love-hate relationship with the writers who cover their careers: they're more willing to tolerate them for the press when things are going good, but when things aren't so rosy, watch out. So when one critic called out Awolnation's 2015 album "Run" for lacking in passion, Bruno went the Bob Dylan "Ballad of a Thin Man" route, and called out the detractor in verse. Hence, we now have the nameless critic to thank for the new song "Passion."


Who: Awolnation with Mission and Irontom

When: 8 p.m., May 30

Where: The Ritz Raleigh, 2820 Industrial Drive, Raleigh

Cost: $29.50, 36.00, 79.00, 149.00

Info: 919-424-1400 or RitzRaleigh.com

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