When christening a new venue, you want a band that creates buzz, whose performance people will talk about and share on social media. The Foundry couldn’t have done much better than Awolnation.
Converted from short-lived nightclub Life, SLS’ new music room is slick and long. The three-level site features a large pit, a small center area for VIPs and bottle service and a nice upper deck with plenty of prime viewing spots. It seems like a venue you might see in a movie about trendy LA bands in the ’90s, combining modern and throwback aesthetics. Sound was clear throughout, and the lighting board served up lots of dazzle. Lines at the bars were predictably long, and somewhat blocked from the stage by two large wall installations flanking the performance space. As for that third level, the spot behind the center-room soundboard provides a unique vantage point, as you hear and see things from the tech team’s point of view.
The headlining LA-based five-piece set a high bar for future Foundry performers, coming out playing at a feverish pace and keeping it up for the whole 15-song set. Lead singer Aaron Bruno showed off impressive range, using his voice alternately as a hard-rock and dance-pop instrument. The dude also happens to be a hit-writing machine, and we got all the favorites, from “Kill Your Heroes” and “I Am” to “Not Your Fault.” He didn’t need to sing on encore closer and best-known Awolnation song “Sail”—the crowd had every word covered. But single “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” off 2015’s Run was actually the evening’s high point, with the band infusing it with kinetic life well beyond its polished studio version.