Minutes before their killer set at Firefly Festival we chatted with Walk The Moon’s Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Eli Maiman, and Sean Waugaman about the recording process on the new album, festival vibes, and their unofficial music videos.
Youâ€™ve had a pretty crazy couple of months, with TV performances and the album release.
Nick: The TV stuffâ€™s been pretty surreal and we donâ€™t get nervous for a lot of things but the TV stuff is pretty nuts. And you grow up watching bands on live TV and thatâ€™s definitely something to tell the grandkids.
With the new album you re-recorded a couple songs off your independent release, what was that selection process like?
Eli: It was kind of a collaborative process between us and Ben Allen, our producer. Really what we wanted to do was put together the ten songs that made the most sense together and created the most cohesive product and complete though. It was a painful process because we did record a few more songs beyond what you hear on the record. Ultimately we feel that we came up with a product we set out to make.
It definitely sounds a lot fuller, especially on â€˜I Can Lift a Carâ€™ and â€˜Quesadilla,â€™ and much more cohesive to how these songs are played live. Was that an intentional sound or something you stumbled upon in recording?
Nick: One of the primary intentions going in to record this record was to represent what we do live, capture the live vibe and put it on a CD. If anything, thatâ€™s what we felt lacked from the independent record so with a producer and the studio at our disposal we really wanted to take advantage of that.
There are even a couple songs off that independent release that are still in the rotation live, are there any plans to release those?
Nick: Itâ€™s certainly a possibility to re-record those songs, yeah.
Eli: We actually did re-record â€˜The Liftawayâ€™ for the new record and we ended up wanting more out of the recording than what had gotten. Itâ€™s a tough song to record so who knows maybe weâ€™ll keep trying till we get it right.
Nick and Eli from Walk The Moon (credit: Ken Grand-Pierre)
With the release of the album you did a series of videos for VEVO, how did that come about?
Kevin: We had been working with VEVO to come up with a unique way to premiere the album and since a lot of people discovered us through videos the idea was to keep doing that. Itâ€™s such a fun thing we enjoy doing ourselves and itâ€™s a way that we can keep it in house. We used just my Go-Pro camera that I had and we didnâ€™t have anybody edited it really; it was just us on the road. VEVO was like â€œjust do a bunch of music videos for the songs,â€ which sounded like a great idea but we only had a week but I think what we came up with was a blast. It couldnâ€™t have gone better I think.
Thereâ€™s a vibe that you just kinda turned the camera on and let whatever happen. Almost like a mini-tour documentary in a way, would you ever consider something like that?
Kevin: Tour documentary seems like whatâ€™s going on all the time. It seems like now that the albumâ€™s out and weâ€™re really going hard at radio, our lives are being documented in many different ways. But I donâ€™t about an official tour documentary maybe thereâ€™s something there. I know that I keep a diary of our travels.
Eli: I think itâ€™s worth mentioning that the tour documentary would have been a lot more interesting before we started doing well. Because we did a lot more partying and fun stuff back then. Now itâ€™s a whole lot of work and seeing us in a different studio every day. So the documentaryâ€™s is getting worse and worse every day so maybe we should hop on that.
Kevin: A retroactive documentary.
Do you notice that festival sets go down better than standard gigs? You have a sound that plays well in festival environments
Sean: It depends on the gig. A tiny gig can be as fun as a giant festival gig where youâ€™re playing for thousands of people. Itâ€™s really about the energy in the room and how much fun everybodyâ€™s having.
Kevin: I think what makes the festival vibe different is that all the festivalgoers are all connecting on this different level, like theyâ€™re all here to see music. Only to see music and hang out and meet people and enjoy music. Thereâ€™s camping and multiple days, itâ€™s almost like going to summer camp but youâ€™re seeing concerts all day long. Thatâ€™s different vibe and I think people maybe feel a little more open to see different music and discover new music if theyâ€™re at a festival.
By Matt Arena
After an incredibly successful first day, Firefly had even more in store for day 2. With doors opening at 11 am, there was much more music to be packed into the schedule and if you werenâ€™t there first thing in the morning, you may have missed some of the best sets of the entire festival.
It says a lot when a band can put on a killer set with one of the first performances of the day at an all day festival like Firefly. It certainly canâ€™t be easy playing so early in the morning when most people arenâ€™t there. But none of this seemed to faze Imagine Dragons. The Las Vegas four piece has generated a lot of buzz lately, appearing on many peopleâ€™s radar after their wildly popular set at Coachella. And their Firefly set did more than impress. It blew people away, almost literally. Easily the loudest band out of all three days (probably due to the massive bass drum lead singer Dan Reynolds was beating upon), they definitely blasted the sleep from the festival goers eyes Saturday morning. â€˜Radioactiveâ€™ is an absolute monster of a live track. Starting off with light acoustic strumming and harmonizing, one may think, â€œugh, hereâ€™s another restrained indie song,â€ but then the bass drops and what comes feels like the love child of an AWOLNATION and fun. song. The aforementioned giant bass drum plays a large role here, as Reynolds smashes against it as hard as he can, providing a boom that should register on the Richter scale. Thought it may have only been noon, the crowd didnâ€™t seem sluggish one bit. From the drop in â€˜Radioactive,â€™ they were bouncing and singing as if they were watching a headliner. Bands tend to pull larger crowds at festivals, just naturally as there are more people than standard gigs, but with Imagine Dragons set it seemed as if every person watching did so deliberately. There werenâ€™t any usual festival stragglers who came just because they heard loud music, everyone already knew the band. The word â€œcatchyâ€ is used a lot to describe music, and usually with the connotation this in some way makes the song or lyrics inferior, but Imagine Dragons are catchy in the superior sense. The music just grabs you in a way thatâ€™s impossible not to join in. The fast and upbeat drumming foundations on â€˜Round and Roundâ€™ give it a never-ending, pounding feel and combines with the wonderfully constructed choruses to make one of the best live tracks Iâ€™ve heard in a while. Plus the sheer energy this band exuded from the stage made it near impossible for the audience not to return back in kind. Though starting even before noon, Imagine Dragons put on easily the best set of the day and possibly even the best out of the entire weekend.
Up a bit later on in the day was Grouplove. A band that seems to just be getting bigger by the day (they just announced another, larger headlining tour after finishing their first one just a month ago), and they deserve every bit of it. To call Grouplove unique would be an understatement. From the music, to the band members themselves, thereâ€™s nothing ordinary about this band. There isnâ€™t another band out there you can fairly compare their sound to and itâ€™s taken to another degree in their live shows. Frequently extending intros and outros on a whim, Grouplove seem completely free on stage. Songs like â€˜Slow,â€™ are slowed down and distorted to a massive wall of drum beating, echoing static, and the fading screams of lead singer Christian Zucconi (who seems to sport a different hair color every time I see them). Theyâ€™re able to change their sound so quickly from song-to-song that if you close your eyes (and count to ten, ZING!) youâ€™d think a different band had taken the stage. Lead vocal duties switch between Zucconi, Hannah Hooper (who doubles on keys), and bassist Sean Gadd. They have a very distinct vocal style, so when singing separately they give each song a different feel but still manage to blend together perfectly when harmonizing. This blender type vocal style is used on songs like â€˜Chloe,â€™ which starts off with Gaddâ€™s deep, almost country voice and joined by the higher sound from Hooper and the ever present ethereal wailing of Zucconi. Though the vocal styles may change, one thing always seems to be a constant with each Grouplove song; theyâ€™re all so fun. Granted thatâ€™s a pretty vague term to apply to a bandâ€™s sound, but upon seeing them perform itâ€™s hard not to agree. The loose nature of the rapid acoustic riffs, the constant rhythmic drumming, jumpy bass lines, and warbly key structures all come together so well. Take a song like â€˜Tongue Tiedâ€™ for example. Thereâ€™s so much going on in that song, a blending of musical styles that shouldnâ€™t work, but somehow they pull it off in spectacular fashion. Like all great bands, they take what makes them great and amplify it live. The passion and energy they play with on a consistent basis is astounding, almost as if they havenâ€™t played these songs countless times. Itâ€™s what makes each Grouplove show different, and their set at Firefly was no exception.
YOUNG THE GIANT
This alt-rock five piece has had one hell of a year. After their now classic performance of â€˜My Bodyâ€™ on the VMAâ€™s, Young the Giant have been on a rapid increase upwards. Having just wrapped up their sold out nation-wide tour, they hit up a couple major festivals too. First was Bonnaroo and now Firefly. To see this band on the power of the main stage was quite spectacular. Though their sound rangers from the alt-rock jumper of a track â€˜My Bodyâ€™ to more mellow tracks like â€˜Guns Out,â€™ they always manage to engage the crowd. Having chatted with bassist Payam Dootstzadeh prior to their set, he said theyâ€™d be playing a number of tracks and to be on the lookout for one in specific called â€˜Teachers.â€™ As the band is currently writing and recording the new album, theyâ€™ve been showcasing a number of new songs and â€˜Teachersâ€™ is definitely one to be anticipated. One of the more upbeat songs they have, itâ€™s able to do so in a way that doesnâ€™t feel like a My Body 2.0. The band is looking for a more evolved and experimental sound on the new record, the few new tracks they played evidence of that. It wasnâ€™t one of those moments in the set were you dread the new material, but instead something to look forward to, as everyone in the crowd is dying to see what Young the Giant have in store next. Of course the material off their massively successful debut album went down fantastically as well. Utilizing his now trademark two microphone set-up, lead singer Sameer Gadhia is able to re-create the haunting vocal echoes on songs like â€˜Guns Outâ€™ all the while slapping a tambourine against his hip. The two latest singles, â€˜Cough Syrupâ€™ and â€˜Apartmentâ€™ made early appearances in the set and were greeted with a blast of cheers as the audience loudly sang along. Though the true highlight of the set, and by far the entire weekend, was during the final song. If you know even a little about Young the Giant, youâ€™ll know how close they are with bands like Grouplove, Cage the Elephant, and a number of other young alt rock bands. Coincidentally enough, two of them just so happened to be at Firefly as well. So to the initiated, it shouldnâ€™t have come as much of a surprise when all the members of Grouplove and Walk the Moon mobbed the stage during the last chorus of â€˜My Body.â€™ From the very beginning of the song the crowd was deafening in their singing of literally every single word. Check YouTube (video proof!), itâ€™s even louder than Sameerâ€™s voice. Add to that the power the chorus has to turn any standing structure into a trampoline, and the bouncing mass of fans was already insane before the impromptu jam session. So when suddenly two full bands just charge the stage and start jumping and singing along, it pushed the crowd into a further frenzy. Walk the Moon front man Nicholas Petricca shared a mic with Sameer as the stage was crawling with the rest of the members from each band. Sometimes singing, other times just jumping and spinning around like dancing fools, it was the â€œmomentâ€ of the festival and one of the coolest things this writerâ€™s ever seen at a gig. Itâ€™s still unclear whether or not Young the Giant even knew about it beforehand, which would make it that much more a definitive festival moment.
Being that the lineup was mostly filled with up-and-coming alt rock acts, Firefly did the smart thing and made sure to throw in some bands to change up the style. Cake was definitely one of those bands. John McCreaâ€™s voice is instantly recognizable, as is the bandâ€™s sound in general. At first glance they might not seem like an interesting live act, McCreaâ€™s voice, though unique, is rather monotone and deadpan. While thatâ€™s part of what make their music work, itâ€™s not necessarily ideal for a live environment. Yet somehow theyâ€™re able to come alive. The surprisingly loud and much more pronounced riff from â€˜The Distanceâ€™ nearly transforms the once mellow track into a live anthem. Suddenly they were a full on rock band, turning the once monotonous track into a booming song that sprang to life. The trumpet work of Vince DiFiore is key in keeping the songs similar, but seeing Xan McCurdy on guitar is what really makes this band take a step forward as a live act. While underplayed in studio versions, the riffs in songs like â€˜Short Skirt/Long Jacketâ€™ come to the forefront. Louder and fuller, they become the backbone of the song and are hard to deny a mild headbang to. Definitely a band that will catch you off guard with their surprising life and energy, Cake was playing to an already established group of fans but was definitely able to win pretty much everyone who saw them over. Theyâ€™re not the type of band that will have the crowd jumping and going crazy, nor do they pretend to. But what they do so well is take their niche sound and expand upon it, possibly winning over those who at first pass on the droll nature of their studio sound.
Bands with one massive hit are always interesting to watch. Not only how they go about structuring their sets, but how the crowd reacts when the majority of them are just waiting for â€œthat one song.â€ And Modest Mouse is a good band, but thereâ€™s no denying that they will draw that type of audience from â€˜Float On.â€™ Being that the song hit back in 2005, itâ€™s clear just from watching them play that theyâ€™re not only used to this but have learned how to use it to their advantage. They donâ€™t pull the clichÃ© move and use it as the encore, but throw it a little more than midway through the set, as if it were any other song. Thereâ€™s not big show of â€œalright, now hereâ€™s the song you all came to hear,â€ itâ€™s just simply there. And by putting it there in the set you give the less familiar audience members a chance to hear some other material without making them wait 15+ songs for it. Itâ€™s a delicate balance and Modest Mouse strikes it quite well. Of course it helps that their other material is great as well. Songs like â€˜Dashboardâ€™ and â€˜The World at Largeâ€™ sounded full and cram packed with instrumental layers coming from the production of the festivalâ€™s main stage. It helped having what seemed like a legion of fans going 100% for every single song on the set, too.
Bookending day 2 of the festival with another Las Vegas band, this one considerably larger than the first, was the Killers. Having been on hiatus since 2010, the hype around the return of the Killers was massive. Though they tend to be a bit overrated and have a penchant for being extremely stubborn with photographers (making my job that much harder), itâ€™s impossible to deny their ability to pull a crowd. Especially considering the current mainstream musical climate that seems to demand a non-stop presence or else a band risks losing their â€œstatus.â€ Not so with the Killers. After being gone for a full two years, theyâ€™re still able to draw just as well, if not better. The hiatus seemed to benefit the band if anything, instead of people forgetting about them, the demand for the band actually grew. Having headlined Madison Square Garden prior to the hiatus, itâ€™s easy to see the band returning to a similar level of success. Especially after seeing their set at Firefly. Definitely the â€œbiggestâ€ headliner of the weekend, hence the Saturday slot, they definitely played like it. Bringing with them a strong amount of production for a festival and the massive hits that a band of their caliber has, itâ€™s hard to deny that the Killers know how to put on a show. Opening with â€˜Somebody Told Me,â€™ arguably their biggest hit, they made it clear that they werenâ€™t pulling any punches and were there simply to blow people away. And if the sound of the screams from the crowd is any indication, they definitely succeeded. Ironically enough this billing was the main reason for going to Firefly, even though Iâ€™m not as enraptured with the band as everyone else is. Theyâ€™re a massive band to have headlining, and one of the few that isnâ€™t touring at the moment, and even I have to admit that hearing â€˜When You Were Youngâ€™ is an experience in itself.
YOUNG THE GIANT
By Matt Arena
New festivals seem to pop up every year, pull a decent lineup and then are never heard from again. In essence theyâ€™re attempts at unseating summer powerhouses like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, but they rarely ever succeed. But every once in a while those festivals have down years, allowing room for one of these newcomers to stake their own claim on the American summer music festival market. This year is one of those years and the Firefly Festival is one of those newcomers.
While Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza pulled the usual big lineups, itâ€™s a definite decline from last year and the organizers behind Firefly seemed to notice that. Pulling three massive, current, and arena-worthy headliners, they presented the east coast with the rare option of a massive three day festival. A very doable 3.5 hr drive from the New York area, combined with billing of a major festival in a small festival setting made Firefly a must-see for anyone on the east coast. With all three levels of three day passes selling out weeks before the festival, they released a number of single day passes which promptly sold out as well. Itâ€™s only a few days after the last band left the stage, but itâ€™s pretty clear that 2012 Firefly Festival was quite the success. So much so that starting today July 25th, the festival will begin selling early bird passes for next yearâ€™s festival. Itâ€™s clear that Firefly will not be following the trend of one-hit wonder festivals and that they plan on becoming a summer mainstay for music fans. The first day saw some rain, but the amount of fantastic music more than made everyone forget about the somewhat sloppy conditions.
Opening up the main stage for the weekend was The Wallflowers. Having announced an end to their hiatus just this past fall, they also recently revealed theyâ€™re working on their first new record in over seven years. With the possibility of new songs and playing on the power of the festivalâ€™s main stage, it was no surprise to see a massive crowd awaiting the bandâ€™s arrival before they even took the stage. Sticking with the same lineup from their last studio album Rebel, Sweetheart, itâ€™s clear the strength of this band revolves around frontman Jakob Dylan, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and bassist Greg Richling. Other members may come and go, but these guys have been together from the start and thatâ€™s immediately evident when they play. Firefly boasts an excellent, albeit young, lineup, so a seasoned band like The Wallflowers was a rarity during the weekend. Playing songs spanning their five studio releases, and including a couple new ones off the bandâ€™s upcoming album Glad All Over, they still managed to give the same levels of live and energy to these songs as when they first started playing. Obviously stand-out hits like â€˜Sixth Avenue Heartacheâ€™ and â€˜One Headlightâ€™ went down well with the crowd, as all it took during the latter was a few notes of the first riff for the entire field to start cheering. The new songs had a distinctly different sound to most of the bandâ€™s material, with the darker, hard rock undertones reflected in the song titles themselves, â€˜Devilâ€™s Waltzâ€™ and â€˜Hospital for Sinnersâ€™ respectively. Dylan seemed determined to get these new songs out there and in a moment of self-awareness announced the crowd that â€œalright, the new song section is over,â€ before moving into the bandâ€™s more well known material. Festival crowds can be notoriously impatient when wading through a block of the set list that is dedicated to new material, but the Wallflowers handled it well, mostly by acknowledging it was happening in the first place. This is why they were such a great choice to open the main stage; theyâ€™re a veteran band that not only understands how modern audiences work but how to rock their faces off.
Very few bands have been able to build a career like OK Go has. Breaking through to mainstream audiences with their now legendary video for â€˜Here It Goes Again,â€™ they essentially promoted their way into peopleâ€™s iPods because of their music videos. In a time where music videos are a dying art, itâ€™s great to see a band like OK Go not only put tons of effort in it but have a ball doing it. Theyâ€™ve been able to channel that initial buzz into considerable success. Playing with the same quirky energy presented in most of their videos, it creates an interesting cohesive element to all they do. This is evident on songs like â€˜Return,â€™ in which the band plays hand bells placed amongst a chessboard. Lead singer Damian Kulash informed the crowd just prior to the song, â€œletâ€™s go to church,â€ before breaking into the oddly captivating performance.
Walk the Moon
There are certain bands that just feel tailor-made for festivals and Walk the Moon is definitely one of those bands. Between the style of music and the bandâ€™s aesthetic on stage (and yes, meaning the face paint), itâ€™s almost easy to see how this band would crush any festival stage they walked upon. While mostly having seen the band previously at standard gigs inside clubs (with the exception of Music Midtown, prior to their recent explosion in popularity), it was a treat to say the least to see them take on a major festival crowd like at Firefly. With a mix of songs off their latest self-titled debut album and the independently released â€˜i want, i want!â€™ of last year, to say they struck a chord would not only be a lame pun but the understatement of the year. From the moment the band took the stage, they had the crowd, jumping, dancing, yelling, and in general just partying their asses off. It helps that Walk the Moon create some of the danciest music out there. Songs like â€˜Shiver, Shiverâ€™ and â€˜Quesadillaâ€™ vibrated the very soil the crowd was standing upon, with the groovy bass lines (courtesy of bassist Kevin Ray) and spiraling synths making the songs practically explode from the stage. The vocal, synth, and drum work of multi-talented front man Nicholas Petricca no doubt played a large part in this. It seems like every member of this band is doing five different things at once, operating whatever instrument theyâ€™re holding like pros, all the while singing and dancing with faces of guys who wholeheartedly love what theyâ€™re doing. Clearly the audience not only recognized but fed off that. When the band on stage is so obviously having the time of their life, it only elicits an even stronger reaction from the crowd.
Having seen Walk the Moon many, many times now, itâ€™s always astounding how they manage to get better with every show. Even the bandâ€™s tour manager and publicist could be seen side stage dancing and singing just as hard as everyone in the crowd. The soaring harmonies on tracks like â€˜The Liftawayâ€™ and â€˜I Can Lift a Carâ€™ not only mixed the bandâ€™s vocal medley beautifully, but everyone in the crowd as well. During the latter, not only did the audience shout along to every single word of the irresistibly catchy chorus, but even joined in on a several hundred impromptu car lifting dance, which can only be described as Walk the Moonâ€™s take on raising the roof. It all led into the absolute fire storm of a summer anthem, â€˜Anna Sun.â€™ From the very first synth note, the crowd erupted into cheers as the band bounced, spun, and stomped around the stage like possessed men. To go through and list why every song worked so well and why every band member is so essential to making it all come together would take forever, so know this: thereâ€™s only one thing to do during a Walk the Moon show, drop whatever youâ€™re doing and dance.
Headlining the secondary stage was Los Angeles rock band, Silversun Pickups. Fresh off the release of their stellar third album, Neck of the Woods, they played a killer set spanning all three of their studio releases. Having sat down to talk with bassist Nikki Monninger earlier that day, she expressed excitement at the opportunity to play the new songs live, as the band hasnâ€™t started their tour yet. One of the best songs off the new album and maybe even the best of the set was â€˜Mean Spirits.â€™ In trademark Silversun Pickups fashion, the track relies on the booming bass lines and fuzzy distorted riffs of lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert. The jump from studio to live is a transition many bands struggle with, but Silversun Pickups seem to do it with ease. For a group of just four people, they make a sound that could fill an arena which is why they sounded so great at Firefly. Without the constraints that a standard club has, their sound was able to go as far as possible at Dover Downs. This was especially true on â€˜Growing Old is Getting Old,â€™ not only hands-down the best song of the set but maybe even the best out of the entire weekend. This was a personal favorite before going in and hearing it live again just solidifies that. It takes everything that makes Silversun Pickups great and amplifies it by ten. Quite literally. Itâ€™s a building, slow burner of a track but eventually explodes into a blitz of static, distortion, bass, and primal screams that sees the band as itâ€™s very best and loudest. Though not a single, the band thankfully kept it on the set list despite the slew of tracks off the new album, and is a highlight of every Silversun Pickups set. Having only played a handful of secret shows in LA since the album release, the band sounded as sharp as ever, even with the new tracks. The first single of Neck of the Woods, â€˜Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)â€™ was a standout. The echoing vocals rolled all the way back to the very entrance of the festival and the repeating backing track gave the song an extraterrestrial feel. The crowd definitely loved Silversunâ€™s set, even as far as earning thanks from Brian himself for sticking around despite the ominous clouds and impending rain. The bandâ€™s two biggest hits, â€˜Panic Switchâ€™ and â€˜Lazy Eyeâ€™ both received roars from the crowd during their opening notes. While the former is much more upbeat and the latter is similar to â€˜Growing Oldâ€™ as a slow burner, they were both incredible. Equal parts modern alternative and ambient rock, Silversun Pickups is one of the few modern bands with a truly unique sound. You canâ€™t throw the â€œthey sound like (insert band name here)â€ label on them and it makes that much better.
After a couple years out of the spotlight, Jack White has had a huge year. After announcing the break-up of The White Stripes and releasing his own solo album, White has been playing seemingly non-stop. Headlining almost every major festival the US has and doing a residency of club shows around the country, it seems that heâ€™s back in a major way. Early into the day festival goers had been camping out at the front of the main stage for White, and he undoubtedly impressed. Ironically enough, he played mostly songs from his many other bands. Only five tracks released under the Jack White solo name were found; not that itâ€™s a bad thing. Comprised mostly of White Stripes and Raconteurs â€œcovers,â€ (and a wicked appearance of the Dead Weatherâ€™s â€˜I Cut Like a Buffaloâ€™), it kinda felt like a White Stripes gig. Minus Meg. Itâ€™s pretty clear he still loves playing these songs, almost as much as the crowd loves hearing them. Kicking right off with â€˜Dead Leaves and Dirty Ground,â€™ it set the tone quite well for the rest of the set. Though clearly happy for the treat of White Stripes songs, the audience loved material off Blunderbuss just as much. â€˜Freedom at 21â€™ made an early appearance in the set, and though a bit of a low-key track on the album, it springs to life on stage. The unmistakable riff got a roar from the sprawling crowd and the frenzied work of the all male back-up band Los Buzzardos no doubt played a key role in the songâ€™s transformation. It may be a bit clichÃ© to name â€˜Seven Nation Armyâ€™ as the highlight of the set, but come on, itâ€™s â€˜Seven Nation Army.â€™ Sporting arguably the most recognizable bass line of the past 10 years, the crowd knew it was coming and still gave the loudest cheer the instant the first note was heard. To try to relate the level of energy not only from stage, but also from the absolutely packed crowd would prove nothing but a disservice so imagine this; itâ€™s â€˜Seven Nation Armyâ€™ live. Just imagine how great that would be and multiply it by about 20. Though the rain started almost as soon as he set did, Jack White didnâ€™t seem to mind as he remarked to the crowd, â€œI know youâ€™re out there in the rain, but you kind of like it, donâ€™t you?â€ To which the crowd replied with a rowdy cheer. Though not a rarity at festivals this summer, Jack White still managed to more than live up to the near legendary status and fit perfectly as the first headliner of the weekend. Mark â€œsee Seven Nation Army liveâ€ off my gig bucket list? Check.
WALK THE MOON
Walk the Moon, Morning Parade, there are even similarities in their names, but thatâ€™s just where the similarities start. When I heard that these two would be on tour together, I couldnâ€™t quite imagine how that would fit. But man, was I completely wrong. In Boston, on the last stop of their tour together, both bands made it a completely unforgettable night, both in performance and spirit.
The line was full of fans in face paint and bright colored clothing, obviously repping Walk the Moonâ€™s fun style. The Essex lads even walked down the street without so much as a hello from the audience. However, there were a few Morning Parade fans hiding somewhere amongst the color wave once the line proceeded into The Paradise. And even if there werenâ€™t as many fans entering the show, there were many more after the show they put on. People even went over to the merch table to say hello.
The sold out venue was barely full when Morning Parade took the stage. About half way through their set, the venue filled up and finally realized that they are, in fact, an act to see.
Despite the initial audience deficiency, the band delivered, hitting the stage hard with notable track â€œUnder the Stars.â€ Lead singer Steve Sparrow joked with the front row, stating, â€œYouâ€™re going to get wet, and youâ€™re going to get wet..â€ and they responded by dancing and jumping around. You can always count on the front row to start the notion.
Lesser known tracks, â€œMarble Atticâ€ (not featured on their newly released album) and â€œClose To Your Heartâ€ followed and maintained the energy. Sparrow and guitarist Phil Titus jammed out during the breakdown of the former, and the crowd ate it up, proving that the band was steadily making their presence known.
One of the most remarkable things about this band is their complete sound. They are so together and polished, with the majority of the band singing in perfect harmony while making a whirlwind of noise with their instruments. Itâ€™s amazing to know that they are still kind of a new band in America, but theyâ€™re able to make such an impact in their live performance.
â€œBlue Winterâ€ continued the set and intrigued the audience even more. The beginning â€œahhs,â€ Steveâ€™s falsetto on â€œwinter,â€ the danceable drum beat, and the wavering dynamics from gentle coos to raging guitar hooks all contributed to the positive vibe.
Another statement of character for these guys is that, they mentioned Walk the Moonâ€™s album release before even mentioning their own. This then segued into the next song, â€œCarouselâ€ which they finally stated is on their new album.Soon, there was a myriad of clapping along, some laughter from the band as manager Iain Graham and possibly members of Walk the Moon made faces at them fromthe balcony, and the end result of Walk the Moon coming on stage as back up dancers and cocktail waiters. After a lot of â€œcheersâ€ and hugs, Morning Parade thanked the guys for an amazing tour and broke out into â€œHeadlights,â€ which the majority knew and sang along.
Last came perfect closer and closer on the album too, â€œBorn Alone.â€ In traditional end set style, the band left everything else they had on the stage, as they surged into a no-stops instrumental outro as the crowd cheered and danced. After they left the stage, many people exclaimed, â€œWow, they were greatâ€ and the mission of recognition the band set out on was definitely accomplished.
Next came the moment that all of the screaming girls in the audience were waiting for, Walk the Moon rushed on the stage and soaked up the energy of their adoring fans. Iâ€™m pretty sure that energy never left any of the members, but rather just kept growing, because none of them could seem to stop moving, jumping, or dancing for the duration of the show. That energy was infectious and audience and band shared in the buzz.
They started the set slow and steady (compared to most of their songs) with i want! i want!track â€œThe Liftawayâ€ (one of only a few tracks excluded from the new release). Despite it being older material, many people were singing along, and swelling forward to get closer to the band. At one point in the song, the band went completely a cappella, and the pureness and togetherness of their voices was almost haunting. Much like Morning Parade before them, their harmonies are really down pat.
The funky drum beats along with band orchestrated â€œheysâ€ and claps started â€œQuesadilla,â€ to which some slight moshing broke out. Lead singer and keyboardist turned drummer, Nicholas Petriccaâ€™s rhythmic snare drum banging sparked even more dancing and carried into chorus building â€œNext in Line.â€ Guitarist Eli Maiman entertained the audience by leaning into the first few rows. Bassist Kevin Ray, in bright orange pants, jumped around stage. Drummer, Sean Waugaman (rocking a rubber ducky on the mic of his drum kit) even had his moment with driving fast paced beatsin next song â€œJenny.â€
Another older song from i want! i want!titled just that brought out the die-hard fans as they chanted â€œIâ€™m 17 and you donâ€™t know me/Iâ€™m drinking wine with all of the girlsâ€ over some pretty smooth and mood evoking keyboard rhythms.
Petricca then picked it back up with â€œTightropeâ€ and his never ending movement on stage. While he may be the front man, and does a great job of it (i.e. flicking red and blue drumsticks between his fingers, adding that extra flare), the other members of the band are equally as eye-catching, demonstrating their unity as a band and friends. For instance, â€œLisa Babyâ€ started with Maimanâ€™s cutting guitar and Rayâ€™s melody carrying bass, before erupting into â€œwhen my baby is a mess, my baby is a dancing queen.â€
Much like their counterparts, Walk the Moon thanks Morning Parade for being great tourmates and tells the audience how a great friendship has formed between the two bands. They then dedicate song â€œTete a Teteâ€ to them.
After hearing the recognition, Morning Parade joined them on stage for â€œShiver Shiver,â€ to which they and WtMâ€™s manager Blake hilariously attempt to reenact the dance from the 7in7 video. When I said the show was unforgettable, this is one of the things I was talking about. The camaraderie between them is unlike any other two bands Iâ€™ve ever seen on tour together.
After the song and laughter ended, the glimmering intro to â€œAnna Sunâ€ filled the room with screams and everyone chanted along. Petricca ran into the crowd into clawing arms and really made the connection with the fans complete. At the end, Ray came over and hugged as many people as he could fit into his arms in the front row before walking off stage.
But thatâ€™s not all they had in store for us. They emerged on stage againperforming a cover of David Bowieâ€™s â€œLetâ€™s Dance,â€ to which the audience did. Ending their set was â€œI Can Lift A Carâ€ and everyone had their hands in the air. Morning Parade then joined them on stage again, returning the earlier favor of bearing drinks. Everyone ended in a hug, before Morning Parade walked off, and finally Walk the Moon followed.
After the show and after making time to meet all of their fans, the bands hung out and were goofing on each other outside of the venue. They took a giant group picture, signed tour posters, and even did the Macarena. There was even some piggy backing involved. It then became evident that these bands have become like brothers, separated by countries, but united by music.
Both of these bands have such a spirit and a passion for what they do, and thatâ€™s probably what made them so close during their time on the road together. They both know how to entertain an audience by putting on a powerful and impactful live show while making the connection with their fans and having the time of their lives. Both being so young in age have already set the ground work for a very promising future. Even though they part ways after this tour (until reuniting at Sasquatch Festival), I can see them remaining in contact, and I can see them growing at the same time as one another. After all, their albums came out on the same day and they took America by storm around the same time period. I also heard a rumor that Sparrow and Petricca want to collaborate on something, but weâ€™ll see what the future holds.
WALK THE MOON have hit the #1 spot on Sirius/XMâ€™s Alt Nationâ€™s Countdown with their explosive single â€œAnna Sunâ€. â€œAnna Sunâ€ is the first single off their self titled RCA Records debut album which will be released on June 19th. WALK THE MOON will also head out on their first ever headlining tour beginning in May and will be performing on CBSâ€™s The Late Show with David Letterman the week of June 18th.
Earlier this year WALK THE MOON released the â€œAnna Sun EPâ€ which consists of three tracks, â€œTightropeâ€, â€œNext In Lineâ€ and â€œAnna Sunâ€. The music video for â€œAnna Sunâ€ recently crossed the 1 million play mark on VEVO and continues to burn up the radio charts.
WALK THE MOONâ€™s self titled album is produced by Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective) and features tracks from the â€œAnna Sun EPâ€, new songs and newly recorded versions of fan favorites off their 2010 independently released album i want! i want!.
After being featured in a profile piece on NBCâ€™s Last Call with Carson Daly last spring following their stint at SXSW, WALK THE MOON recently returned to network television with another performance on â€œLast Callâ€ as well as an incredible live performance on Late Night wth Jimmy Fallon.
Named one of â€œMTVâ€™s Artists to Watch for 2012,â€ WALK THE MOON, who has already toured as part of MTVUâ€™s first ever â€œWoodies Tourâ€ with Young the Giant as well as with the Kaiser Chiefs, have captured the attention of fans and critics alike with their colorful and energetic live performances. Says Rolling Stone â€œOpening act Walk the Moon looked and sounded like a band that will be starting its own headlining tour in short order.â€
Launched in Ohio in 2008 by lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player Nicholas Petricca, WALK THE MOON includes Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals) and Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals).
5/26/2012 Noblesville, IN â€“ WRZK Mayday – Klipsch Music Center
5/28/2012 Quincy, WA â€“ Sasquatch Music Festival – The Gorge Amphitheatre
5/29/2012 Portland, OR â€“ Crystal Ballroom
6/3/2012 San Diego, CA â€“ XTRA-F â€œX-Fest 2012â€
6/4/2012 Los Angeles, CA â€“ Troubadour
6/6/2012 Phoenix, AZ â€“ Rhythm Room
6/8/2012 Dallas, TX â€“ The Prophet Bar
6/9/2012 Austin, TX â€“ The Parish
6/11/2012 Tulsa, OK â€“ Cainâ€™s Ballroom
6/12/2012 Lawrence, KS â€“ Granada Theatre
6/13/2012 Omaha, NE â€“ The Waiting Room
6/14/2012 Minneapolis, MN â€“ First Avenue
6/15/2012 Chicago, IL â€“ Lincoln Hall
6/16/2012 Pontiac, MI – iLounge
6/18/2012 Boston, MA â€“ Paradise Rock Club
6/21/2012 Philadelphia, PA â€“ Theatre of the Living Arts
6/22/2012 Washington D.C. â€“ Black Cat
6/23/2012 New York, NY â€“ Governors Ball Music Festival
7/15/2012 Louisville, KY â€“ The Forecastle Festival â€“ The Riverfront Belvedere
7/20/2012 Dover, DE â€“ Firefly Music Festival
Hailing from Essex, England, Morning Parade is proud to announce the release of their long-anticipated debut full-length on June 19th as well as live tour dates in June as special guests of Ohio natives, Walk The Moon.
The band is already causing waves of anticipation with the release of their debut single, â€œHeadlightsâ€ which is gaining swift momentum at alternative radio across the U.S., in addition to six spectacular shows at SXSW, live dates as special guests of The Kooks in March and recently premiering their video on RollingStone.com.
Heavily tipped at the beginning of 2011, Morning Parade side-stepped the hype-trap which many a new band has fallen into by rushing out a quick debut album and instead took their time to write the album they wanted to make whilst building a solid and loyal fanbase all across Europe.
The result is a breathtaking statement of intent, demonstrating a depth of lyric and songwriting which has become increasingly rare amongst many contemporary artists. It is a purposeful, heartfelt and honest collection of songs:
From the bristling and driving rhythms of â€œUs and Ourselvesâ€ to the feel good anthem â€œUnder the Starsâ€, the album takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, meandering between different textures and dynamics. The rousing no-holds barred rockâ€™nâ€™roll of â€œBlue Winterâ€ and â€œHeadlightsâ€ pack a considerable punch as album openers while the delicate ode to unrequited love that is â€œMonday Morningâ€ juxtaposes with the life-affirming show-stopper â€œBorn Alone.â€
Recorded with acclaimed producer David Kosten (Bat For Lashes, Everything Everything), the self-titled debut album will be available physically and digitally across the U.S.
2011 saw the band selling out UK and European headline tours, playing to packed out tents at V Festival, touring with the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars, The Wombats and The Kooks, supporting Biffy Clyro at Ibiza Rocks and sharing a stage with Coldplay at Rock am Ring.
Live Dates as Special Guests of Walk The Moon:
6/4 Hollywood, CA Troubadour
6/6 Phoenix, AZ The Rhythm Room
6/8 Dallas, TX The Prophet Bar
6/9 Austin, TX The Parish
6/11 Tulsa, OK Cainâ€™s Ballroom
6/12 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
6/13 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
6/14 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
6/15 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
6/16 Pontiac, MI iLounge
6/18 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
6/20 New York, NY Mercury Lounge