Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, Victoria BC, July 14

Photo: Jason Schreurs

BY Jason SchreursPublished Jul 15, 2013

Aaron Bruno, the guy behind Awolnation, has come a short way since Red Bull created him... er, we mean offered to release his debut album in 2011. What sounded like a studio project when Megalithic Symphony came out has turned into a touring live act with a full band and a more rocked-out sound.

Unfortunately, rock is not Bruno's strong suit, so catchy album songs like "Sail" and "Burn It Down" sounded less like Nine Inch Nails lite in a live setting and more like some third-tier grunge-pop band that no one can remember the name of way too long after "the year that punk broke."

A new song called "ThisKidsNotAlright" didn't hold up much better, failing apart at its desperate arena rock seams. Bruno has promise: with a stage presence that is awkwardly endearing, he could become a sort of anti-hero for kids too spoon-fed to endure the heavier, darker sounds of Trent Reznor or, heck, Muse. But as long as he keeps milking his tired back catalog (i.e. that one played-out album) and sticking with that one annoying high-register near-scream, Bruno's floating face down in a sea of much better festival fodder.

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