I watched every act at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 in Seattle (there were nine different bands), and there wasn’t a bigger surprise than the AWOLNATION concert. They arguably put on the best show of anyone (aside from maybe The Killers) at the eight-hour musicfest. Not only did AWOLNATION keep you guessing at what was coming next, they also kept you really active.

AWOLNATION Concert | Deck The Hall Ball

AWOLNATION performs at Deck The Hall Ball

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the AWOLNATION concert at Deck The Hall Ball. I knew their hit song ‘Sail‘, but I had to do some research to learn more about them. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to their album. I assumed most of AWOLNATION’s songs sounded like ‘Sail’, but that wasn’t the case. They had much more range than I expected — and that’s exactly what they showed during their concert as well.

The AWOLNATION concert started with the group coming on stage and immediately head banging and screaming “AWOLNATION” over and over again. With a name like AWOLNATION, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I wasn’t really expecting that. The band then stopped rocking out, and kicked into their first song which was much more calm. It was a strange introduction to them.

The routine of head-banging one second, and then kicking into a song with a much different tone continued for the first chunk of the AWOLNATION concert. You never really knew what was coming next, so it was also a little hard to follow. I know I wasn’t the only one thinking that, because my friend Tove and my sister, who were with me at Deck The Hall Ball, were confused to. Aside from the passionate AWOLNATION fans, I honestly think several people in the crowd weren’t really sure how to respond.

The AWOLNATION concert started to shift in the right direction when the group performed ‘All I Need’. The song is as far from head banging as you can find. It’s actually a good jam, and one I downloaded before Deck The Hall Ball. Before he kicked into the song, AWOLNATION lead singer Aaron Bruno encouraged everyone to put their arms around the people next to them. As he was singing ‘All I Need’ the crowd swayed together in unison. A little later into the song, Bruno asked everyone to wave a lighter or cell phone to “make it really cheesy” (in his words). This was easily one of the most fun moments of Deck The Hall Ball, and one that definitely won over the naysayers (including my sister and Tove). The video of AWOLNATION performing ‘All I Need’ at Deck The Hall Ball is actually the most watched video on the 107.7 The End (the station that hosted Deck The Hall Ball) website right now. Check it out!

After the song was over, Bruno admitted that AWOLNATION doesn’t normally play in front of huge crowds like Deck The Hall Ball (capacity at KeyArena for concerts is more than 16,000). He said while that was probably cool for us to see, it was cool for them as well, staring out at the large audience from the stage. You could tell it was a moment that really meant a lot to him.

Everyone was sold on AWOLNATION after that. The place bobbed, weaved and rocked (yes, there was even a mosh pit) to their next few songs. Bruno wasn’t done having fun with the crowd. He was the puppeteer and we were his puppets — happy to do whatever he told us. He even started the wave in KeyArena, and did a stage dive while still singing AWOLNATION’s final song of the night.

Since it was a nine band event, the AWOLNATION concert was only about 50 minutes. That was more than enough time for me to decide that I’d go see them again without hesitation. I’ve even downloaded their entire album since Deck The Hall Ball. I’m sure AWOLNATION isn’t for everyone, but I know they’re definitely for me.

Have you ever seen an AWOLNATION concert? I’d love to hear what you think about them. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out for more on music, sports and travel!