Walk the Moon has a ridiculously catchy sound, an adorable video for lead single “Anna Sun” and a penchant for face paint. But those things are just enough for me to strongly like a band. Walk the Moon sounds great recorded, but if there’s anything that solidifies my love for a band it is a great live show. In regards to Walk the Moon, it’s impossible not to love them after seeing them on the stage. So full disclosure: I love Walk the Moon. I hope that this review will tell you why you should, too.
Ohio’s Walk the Moon finally landed in Kansas Tuesday night and played a delightfully fun and memorable set for Lawrence fans. Opening was UK act Morning Parade. I was a little slow to warm up to this band (their sound mix seemed a little off), but I was impressed by the end of the set. I was a bit surprised by how many of the songs I recognized — they’ve been getting some play on TV shows and one song I had heard previously, I had tremendously mistaken for a Snow Patrol song. Despite my Snow Patrol mistake, they reminded me of a less heavy, less moody Civil Twilight. Songs that really stood out included “Carousel,” “Headlights” and set closer “Born Alone.” With their charm and solid sound, these guys are set to go far. I’m excited to watch them continuing to grow.
When Walk the Moon took the stage, it became a bubbly dance party with lots of clapping and singing along–though I don’t think Lawrence’s dancing had anything on bassist Kevin Ray’s moves; Kevin had this half bounce/half moon walk thing going on. If you didn’t know the words, it was easy enough to grab on to one of the big choruses and join in with the band. Walk the Moon even taught the audience some lyrics to “I Can Lift a Car” citing that they recently recorded it with the PS22 Choir and the kids only had 30 minutes to learn their harmonies (You can hear the album version with PS22 below). When not dancing or singing, it was easy to get hypnotized by what was occurring musically. The often 4-part harmonies made the songs fill full and big. Speaking of big, the drums were already big, but when singer Nicholas Petricca turned from his keyboard to his drum everything just got bigger: bigger sound, bigger audience’s eyes. For the most part, their set was upbeat songs with huge choruses; this is a band preparing for a future in arenas. Though there was a brief break in the middle of the set when the band switched around instruments for keytars and what not and slowed things down for “Iscariot.” This is a beautiful and emotional song…it’s the “break out the lighters moment” in the show. Yet despite this song’s seriousness, there seemed to be something funky going on with the keyboard. Some of the chords were a little off early in the song, but the audience was forgiving and cheered instead of jeered. Mistakes happen and the band turned it around even adding in a later, purposefully wrong chord with a sly wink. If they hadn’t already charmed the socks off of everyone present, this little hiccup could have ended up much differently, but it actually ended up being memorable and sweet.
Now if I am going to pick any sort of beef with Walk the Moon, it’s going to be over “Tete a Tete.” This song was one of my favorites of the night, but the band announced that it wasn’t going to be the upcoming album and they don’t currently have plans to record it. What teases! Dangling this awesomeness in front of us and then only leaving us to have our memories and YouTube bootlegs. Hopefully they eventually record it or find a way to release it. I guess when you have so many consistently catchy songs, you have to draw the line somewhere.
After the summer anthem (and if it isn’t your summer anthem, it should be) “Anna Sun” ended, our voices properly raw from trying to match Nicholas’ little “Suuuun”-yowls, we pushed our vocal chords even further hoping for an encore. However, with a band that only has an EP officially released and the upcoming album all covered, I wasn’t sure what they had left. When the band returned, they played it cool acting like they weren’t even sure what was about to happen. As they talked and thanked everyone for coming, they integrated some big drum hits in between their thank yous. Well those big drums turned into a very hilarious and awesome cover of “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads. After we all chuckled, about the surprise, we immediately joined the band in singing and acted out a mash of jumping up and down and dancing.
As if the set hadn’t already impressed me enough musically, Walk the Moon then impressed upon Lawrence what great guys they are in general. They all came out and took photos and chatted with literally every person in attendance. They seemed to genuinely enjoy talking to fans, too. They weren’t going through any motions. These guys know a surefire way to make fans for life. Walk the Moon’s set to blow up big and I hope they never lose their grounded attitudes and general joy with music and touring.
So if you get the chance, do yourself a favor and see these guys live. The only reason not to love these guys is if you’re a house (These guys are clearly apartment people what with the “Burning Down the House” cover and “Anna Sun” lyrics talking about the “house is falling apart”). Paint your face with pink “warrior” lines, embrace your inner wild child and let loose at one of Walk the Moon’s shows. You won’t regret it.