Photos and Review by Jennie Book

You were a serious fan if you drove an hour and a half east of Los Angeles all the way to Yaamava Resort & Casino in Highland, CA on October 8, 2023 to see 311 and AWOLNATION, and the beautiful Yaamava Theater was in fact packed with lots of dedicated and serious fans.

AWOLNATION kicked off the double band bill with a 10-song set that included “Candy Pop,” “Kill Your Heroes,” everybody’s favorite “Sail,” and my favorite “Hollow Moon.” The fans were excited to see AWOLNATION live, and smashed themselves up against the barricade to get close.

Lead singer Aaron Bruno and band play music that’s an eclectic mix of hard driving rock and pop, and it’s all steered by Bruno’s charismatic/enigmatic stage presence. Fidgeting, not smiling too much, screaming sometimes (“Hollow Moon”) like he’s a little tortured, Bruno’s a great frontman, and his band is right there with him with songs they’ve been playing together since 2009.

311 came out second after the crowd had been given a beer-buying intermission (but did they have 311 bassist P-Nut’s El Segundo Brewing IPA on tap?), and kicked it off fast with a crowd-favorite singalong in “Beautiful Disaster.” The barricade went wild, and songs like “All Mixed Up,” “Lovesong,” and “Amber” came up in succession in their 22-song set, with the grand encore finale of “Down” bringing the last one percent of the crowd who weren’t already dancing right to their feet.

Frontman Nick Hexum is natural on stage, has a great voice, and is clearly fit as a fiddle as he moves around. He and his bandmates have been together for a long time since forming in Omaha, and their camaraderie shows. Rapper/vocalist SA Martinez did his part bounding around the stage rhyming, and he and Hexum had nice complimentary singing moments which led to some infectious crowd participation.

The Yaamava night ended this leg of the two bands touring together, but you can stay up to date with future plans from both of them by checking out www.311.com and www.awolnationmusic.com.