The Scene: I quickly felt a bit out of place as I walked through the crowd at the Bluebird this past Wednesday night for the sold-out Walk the Moon show. I came to a stop at the top of the stairs down to a pit crammed with mostly sweaty teenage girls. The air smelled like my high school locker room (over applied cologne/perfume) and it was a welcome reminder of my days going to pop-punk shows in high school.
As I scanned the crowd I noticed a girl walking around with a makeshift painter’s pallet drawing designs on plenty of eager fans. The conversations around me were excited and juvenile, but I’m not hating as that was me not so long ago. I was actually grateful, the youngsters packed together up-front made for the most deserted bar I’ve ever seen at a sold-out show at The Bluebird…and that’s not a bad thing.
Walk the Moon: The crowd erupted with screams as the Cincinnati based foursome took to the stage while “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka played. Singer Nicholas Petricca and bassist Kevin Ray were dressed thrift-store-flamboyant and had painted faces like much of the crowd. When the band kicked off their set with “The Liftaway,” the crowd immediately started moving along with their trademark percussive playing and harmonies. The energy in the room was high, and their catchy, danceable songs had me moving despite the painful lack of lyrical content at times (take a listen to “Next in Line.”)
Early in the set Petricca said, “you cannot be too cool to be here. You can’t be too cool to shake your ass” and though I declined, the girls up front didn’t hold back as he turned up the energy and slammed a Floor Tom violently without missing a note. He had them all hot and bothered on “Shiver Shiver” as they screamed each time he sang “Shall we get intimate again?” The band was driven by a sweaty Sean Waugaman on drums who skillfully kept the heartbeat of the band pumping hard.
A high point of the night came with the hit “Tightrope.” Petricca twitched around in front of the mic like a Colfax Crack-head. Along with the face paint, I apparently missed the Jazz Hands memo too. They were a common occurrence all night, but Petricca really got the crowd shaking ’em during “Tightrope.”
The band hopped between their two albums all night, but took a break to share a new song called “Young Shoes” which wasn’t much of a departure from their most recent album. The last song before the encore was the infectious “Anna Sun” and it was accompanied by a frenzy of clapping. Though perhaps I felt a little out of place at this show, I’ll haveta say I thoroughly enjoyed the radio hit. The show could have and should have ended at its peak, right there, but the band left and returned to play an encore cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” It seemed like a poor choice given the demographic of the crowd, but the fans danced and seemed to enjoy themselves despite probably not knowing the early 80’s classic.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: C