After Blink 182 went on hiatus in 2005, an off-shoot, astrology-fueled enterprise arose expeditiously. Titled Angels and Airwaves (AVA), the space-punk manifestation fronted by former Blink guitarist Tom DeLonge carved deep into the rock and roll landscape. This past Wednesday, Tom and friends spiraled their sonic pleasures deep into the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles for a second sold-out night.
Charming Liars took the stage first with an overflow of rock and roll infused electro anthems. The Los Angeles-based by way of England lads showed up with a bold presence, including a gallant neon sign spelling out “Charming Liars” in the background. Frontman Kiliyan Maguire quickly stirred the crowd with the track “Alive” off the band’s debut album, Through, Flesh and Bone. Subsequent tracks such as “Time To Start” and “Something Dark” garnered the Belasco’s full attention. The band closed with the rapturous track “Like A Drug”.
Fronted by AVA’s drummer Ilan Rubin, The New Regime was quick to follow the opener’s set. In this band, Rubin plays the guitar and holy hell, he plays it like his fingers are on fire. The track “A Way To Feel Again” kicked off the rockers set with full force and caused massive excitement to protrude into the crowd.
“Turning a Blind Eye” came shortly after and showcased Rubin’s all out, intense musicality. His voice is silky smooth yet has jagged edges to it when necessary. His onstage demeanor is highly active and full of surprises. One of his favorite moves is to stray away from his microphone during guitar solos and shower the crowd with a full-blown guitar assault.
The band closed the night with tracks such as “No Traces”, “You Can Be (Whoever You Want To Be”, and fan-favorite “Hear Mind Body and Soul”.
As 9 PM neared, fans grew restless as the anticipation of AVA rose. Shortly after the hour, a stamped of cinematic music blasted throughout the speakers of the Belasco signaling it was time for Tom and friends to make their way to the stage.
Caked in white and blue light, Tom elected to forgo his guitar for the first track “Surrender” and become intimate with the crowd. Gleeful cheers erupted from the audience as he neared the barricade.
As the second song “It Hurts” neared its time to shine, Tom met up with his guitar tech to be united with one of his many guitars. As the song continued to roar, fans from all sides of the venue could be seen rocking AVA hats, shirts, and stickers. It was at this point that everyone in the venue knew, fans and security alike, that this would be an evening to remember.
Tracks such as “Everything’s Magic” and “Moon as My Witness” carried the band through the first half of the night with ease and energy. For the 12th track on the setlist, the entire band minus Tom exited the stage. With Tom left at the mic along with an acoustic guitar strapped across his chest, he greeted the crowd again and spoke about memories from long ago. As he continued to share past experiences, he mashed up a few tracks he had written with his former band Blink 182 including “I Miss You”, “There Is”, and “Aliens Exist”, all of which were sung ferociously by everyone in the crowd.
As the night grew old, the band performed “Breathe” and “Kiss & Tell” before leaving the stage only to quickly return for a two-song encore. The tracks “Do It for Me Now” and “Heaven” were selected as the final songs for the evening. Even tho Tom could have played for hours more, it was time for the night, and the tour, to end. Needless to say, everyone, even fans of Matt Skiba, embraced Tom and his bandmates for what they delivered: a sonic display of genius.