It’s been seven years since Angels and Airwaves toured, and six since they played a live show together. The alt-rock super group is made up of Tom DeLonge (Blink 182, Boxcar Racer), David Kennedy (Boxcar Racer, Over My Dead Body, Hazen Street), and Ilan Rubin (Nine Inch Nails, Paramore (studio), LostProphets, the New Regime). The band stopped by the Fillmore in Charlotte, NC, and played a stacked set to packed house of fans that’ve been waiting patiently for their chance to see them again. They brought two supporting acts on the road with them; LA based alt-rock band, Charming Liars, as well as Ilan Rubin’s solo project, The New Regime.
Charming Liars got things started promptly at 7:30 as the venue continued to fill with fan after fan. They play an upbeat alt/pop rock with some new wave/dance influence that has an infectious sound. It’s hard not to find yourself bobbing your head and tapping your foot once they start playing. This was my first exposure to the band and while I typically gravitate towards harder and faster music, I was really impressed by their performance. I think the highlight of their set, for me, was the song “Ocean”. If you’re looking for something new, give them a listen.
The New Regime was another band that was new to me at this show. I recognized Rubin when he took the stage, but had no idea this was his solo project until he actually started the set. Musically, I was reminded a bit of At the Drive-In and NIN, mixed with older funk/classic rock bands. It was good. It was also cool to see Rubin out from behind the drum kit, because his stage presence is great. Tons of energy and movement, and plenty of interaction with the crowd to keep them engaged throughout the set. They played a set with some great tracks mixed in; including “We Rise, We Fall”, “What Brings us Down”, and “Remission of Guilt”. Rubin is a tremendously talented musician, and this band is a perfect way to showcase exactly what he has to offer.
Angels and Airwaves started as the side project of Tom DeLonge when Blink 182 went on hiatus in 2005. According to DeLonge during on-stage remarks the band’s origin sounded more like an experiment than anything else. “Playing punk rock was a release, an escape for me when I was a kid… Angels and Airwaves was an art project when it started.” The band remained a side project for DeLonge for years, while he worked with Blink 182 and Boxcar Racer, but became his primary focus in 2015 after he left Blink 182 for good. The band’s sound is vastly different from his other projects, which was honestly a turn-off for me when I was younger. I grew up listening to faster punk rock bands, mostly hardcore but some more poppy bands as well. Blink 182 was one of those “poppy” punk bands, specifically the ‘Cheshire Cat’ and ‘Dude Ranch’ records. I was hooked on those two albums when I was in middle school, and I grew up listening to the guys from that band grow, and evolve with the music they made. Angels and Airwaves was such a huge evolution of DeLonge’s music that it went right over my head the first time I heard it. I ended up circling back and giving them another listen a few years later and it was like everything “clicked” for me. When you really think about it, it’s sort of incredible to watch musicians grow and mature and evolve along with you, as you go from adolescence to adulthood. That’s exactly what has happened for me, and many others, over the years. The band kicked off their set with “Surrender”, “Overload”, and “It Hurts” and then rolled immediately into their hit “Everything’s Magic”. For me personally, I was stoked to see them play “Anxiety”, “The Adventure”, and “Kiss With a Spell”, along with their new track “Rebel Girl”. But the absolute high point of the show was when Tom took the stage alone and played solo renditions of “I Miss You” and “Aliens Exist” from Blink 182, and “There Is” from Boxcar Racer.
Overall, it was an incredible show. It’s been awesome seeing the band back to creating music, and I think we’re all eagerly awaiting the release up their upcoming sixth studio album. The tour is slowly winding its way across the country, making its way to California, where it will wrap up on October 9th in LA at the Belasco Theatre. Make sure you catch it if it’s in your area.