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Album/Concert: Walk the Moon

Mark your calendars now, because in case you had forgotten, Walk the Moon is playing a free concert as part of WBRU’s Summer Concert Series on July 13, and I promise you it’ll be one show you do NOT want to miss. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform a few nights ago in Philadelphia supporting their self-titled debut album and I can honestly say it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

Despite their growing fame due to the wide-spread popularity of their single “Anna Sun,” the group took the stage humbly and radiating excitement. There’s something special about shows from small up-and-coming bands- they are so happy to be playing their music to people who love it and try to give the best performance of their lives each night. The Philadelphia show proved just that- despite an intense heat wave (lead singer Nick Petricca had sweat off his signature face paint by the third song), the band clearly held nothing back during the high-energy show. Instead of taking a break when Petricca’s keyboard briefly stopped working (possibly due to damage from the sweat that constantly dripped on it), the band played an older song off their unsigned album, I want! I want! that didn’t require that instrument.

As a dedicated fan, I arrived an hour before doors opened to get a good spot, and though I did succeed in positioning myself in the center of the front row (after some squeezing and mild jostling), I was pleasantly surprised by how many others were fans of the band’s collective work- not just their hit single. A person who only knew “Anna Sun” would have felt out of place while I (and everyone around me) sang along to every song, including a great cover of the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” as part of their encore.

Walk the Moon played all of the songs from their June 15 release Walk the Moon (with the exception of “Fixin'”)- an album full of catchy pop hooks and clever lyrics. The album’s release was timed perfectly, it promises to be the soundtrack of a wonderful summer. Petricca’s vocals shine- transitioning to and from a beautiful falsetto heard on songs like “Shiver Shiver” and “Next in Line” over layered synth-heavy beats.

The album opens with the rowdy “Quesadilla”- sporting a drum line and quirky beat that does nothing short of guaranteeing a good dance party. The moodier “Lisa Baby” follows, before the three songs from the Anna Sun- EP. All three shout optimistic, life-loving lyrics like “we’ve got no money but we got heart,” “we’ve been waiting but we’re next in line,” and “the city shines like the sun at night, and I feel it in my heart.” The clever lyrics of “Jenny” and daring falsetto on “Shiver Shiver” keep the album going strong, right up to the only slow-paced ballad “Iscariot” which builds to a rousing, easy-to-sing-along-to chorus. The album’s last two songs are much like the beginning, with the closer “I Can Lift a Car” ascending in volume and musical complexity to the finishing chords, ringing with an uplifting message. The entire album is a cohesive collection of indie pop songs that are sure to leave a smile on your face.

The definition of an “indie” (independent, i.e. no record label) band, Walk the Moon toured extensively, played 2011’s Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and gained a following all without a record label. Though they are now signed to RCA records, the group still likes to do things their own way. As promotion for their new album, the band put out seven “official unofficial” music videos in seven days. Taken with a single hand-held video camera, the videos feature the band singing underwater, partying with friends in a hotel room, getting kidnapped and escaping from a man covered in shaving cream, and falling in love with (and then subsequently destroying) a piñata. You can watch all of these videos on their youtube page. The quirky band maintained its individuality and independence on stage- setting up their own equipment before the show and sporting their unique face paint.

If you like “Anna Sun” you will love the rest of the band’s music, and if you’re not sure how you feel about it, do yourself a favor and go to their show anyway. Walk the Moon is an album meant to be played, heard, and danced to live. All band members put on a great, high-energy, down-to-earth show that I promise you will enjoy.

Watch the music video for “Anna Sun” here, and make sure to catch Walk the Moon’s FREE Summer Concert Series concert on July 13th. Don’t forget your face paint!

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