Review by Jenna Hughes, Photos by Danielle Boise
Cincinnati’s pop rockers WALK THE MOON returned to the Tabernacle April 25 for a sold out show with supporting act The Griswolds. Fans packed the venue, with more than a few women dressed in a “backless dress and some beat up sneaks,” a reference to the band’s massive hit “Shut Up and Dance.” The song, inspired by the pop/dance music of the 80s, recently hit number one on the Billboard Alternative chart in February and the band has been consistently selling out venues across the country since the release of album Talking Is Hard earlier this year.
Fans that were early enough to catch The Griswolds’ set enjoyed an energetic performance from the band out of Sydney, Australia. The quartet performed songs from their debut album Be Impressive, such as “If You Want to Stay,” “Down and Out” and “Heart of a Lion.” It was hard to keep your eyes off vocalist Christopher Whitehall as he passionately sang and danced, always encouraging the audience to join him. The band’s indie-pop sound is influenced by artists such as Of Montreal and Vampire Weekend but they truly have a unique sound that is all their own.
“The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” introduced WALK THE MOON to the stage before they launched into “Different Colors,” from Talking Is Hard. As the stage lights swirled around the band in rainbow colors, front man Nicholas Petricca gave all of his energy to the audience, stepping to the edge of the stage to let them sing along. It seemed like every single person inside the Tabernacle knew every word to every song as the band played more from Talking is Hard, such as “Down in the Dumps,” “Spend Your $$$,” “Avalanche,” and “Work This Body.” The band’s 2012 self-titled album got lots of love as well with “Shiver Shiver,” “Tightrope,” “Lisa Baby,” and “Jenny.” The energy inside the room was infectious and Petricca encouraged everyone to let loose and enjoy the moment, particularly during “I Can Lift a Car,” wherein he asked everyone to think of all the negative stuff in their lives and push it out of themselves by lifting their arms during the chorus of the song. “Shut Up and Dance” closed out the set with everyone singing and clapping along. For the encore, the band chose a surprise cover of “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, putting their own unique spin on it, of course, and ended the night with their first hit, “Anna Sun.”
A WALK THE MOON show is definitely an uplifting experience and the band has the most fun of anyone I’ve ever seen perform on stage, with the audience and with each other. You just can’t help but smile watching them play and do what they love and they do a superb job of passing that feeling on to the crowd. As Petricca told the audience, “This feeling you have right now tonight, you can take that with you. Take it to your job, take it to school, take it home. Take it everywhere.” And from the smiles on the faces of the fans as they left the Tabernacle, it was plain to see they would do just that.
WALK THE MOON full set list:
The Circle of Life (Intro)
Down in the Dumps
Spend Your $$$
Up 2 U
Work This Body
I Can Lift a Car
Shut Up and Dance
All These Things That I’ve Done (Killers cover)