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.
You’ve had a pretty crazy couple of months, with TV performances and the album release.
Nick: The TV stuff’s been pretty surreal and we don’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 that’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 ‘I Can Lift a Car’ and ‘Quesadilla,’ 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, that’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: It’s certainly a possibility to re-record those songs, yeah.
Eli: We actually did re-record ‘The Liftaway’ for the new record and we ended up wanting more out of the recording than what had gotten. It’s a tough song to record so who knows maybe we’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. It’s such a fun thing we enjoy doing ourselves and it’s a way that we can keep it in house. We used just my Go-Pro camera that I had and we didn’t have anybody edited it really; it was just us on the road. VEVO was like “just do a bunch of music videos for the songs,” which sounded like a great idea but we only had a week but I think what we came up with was a blast. It couldn’t have gone better I think.
There’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 what’s going on all the time. It seems like now that the album’s out and we’re really going hard at radio, our lives are being documented in many different ways. But I don’t about an official tour documentary maybe there’s something there. I know that I keep a diary of our travels.
Eli: I think it’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 it’s a whole lot of work and seeing us in a different studio every day. So the documentary’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 you’re playing for thousands of people. It’s really about the energy in the room and how much fun everybody’s having.
Kevin: I think what makes the festival vibe different is that all the festivalgoers are all connecting on this different level, like they’re all here to see music. Only to see music and hang out and meet people and enjoy music. There’s camping and multiple days, it’s almost like going to summer camp but you’re seeing concerts all day long. That’s different vibe and I think people maybe feel a little more open to see different music and discover new music if they’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 weren’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 can’t be easy playing so early in the morning when most people aren’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 people’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. ‘Radioactive’ is an absolute monster of a live track. Starting off with light acoustic strumming and harmonizing, one may think, “ugh, here’s another restrained indie song,” 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 didn’t seem sluggish one bit. From the drop in ‘Radioactive,’ 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 weren’t any usual festival stragglers who came just because they heard loud music, everyone already knew the band. The word “catchy” 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 that’s impossible not to join in. The fast and upbeat drumming foundations on ‘Round and Round’ give it a never-ending, pounding feel and combines with the wonderfully constructed choruses to make one of the best live tracks I’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, there’s nothing ordinary about this band. There isn’t another band out there you can fairly compare their sound to and it’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 ‘Slow,’ 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). They’re able to change their sound so quickly from song-to-song that if you close your eyes (and count to ten, ZING!) you’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 ‘Chloe,’ which starts off with Gadd’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; they’re all so fun. Granted that’s a pretty vague term to apply to a band’s sound, but upon seeing them perform it’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 ‘Tongue Tied’ for example. There’s so much going on in that song, a blending of musical styles that shouldn’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 haven’t played these songs countless times. It’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 ‘My Body’ on the VMA’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 ‘My Body’ to more mellow tracks like ‘Guns Out,’ they always manage to engage the crowd. Having chatted with bassist Payam Dootstzadeh prior to their set, he said they’d be playing a number of tracks and to be on the lookout for one in specific called ‘Teachers.’ As the band is currently writing and recording the new album, they’ve been showcasing a number of new songs and ‘Teachers’ is definitely one to be anticipated. One of the more upbeat songs they have, it’s able to do so in a way that doesn’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 wasn’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 ‘Guns Out’ all the while slapping a tambourine against his hip. The two latest singles, ‘Cough Syrup’ and ‘Apartment’ 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, you’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 shouldn’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 ‘My Body.’ From the very beginning of the song the crowd was deafening in their singing of literally every single word. Check YouTube (video proof!), it’s even louder than Sameer’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 “moment” of the festival and one of the coolest things this writer’s ever seen at a gig. It’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 McCrea’s voice is instantly recognizable, as is the band’s sound in general. At first glance they might not seem like an interesting live act, McCrea’s voice, though unique, is rather monotone and deadpan. While that’s part of what make their music work, it’s not necessarily ideal for a live environment. Yet somehow they’re able to come alive. The surprisingly loud and much more pronounced riff from ‘The Distance’ 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 ‘Short Skirt/Long Jacket’ 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. They’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 “that one song.” And Modest Mouse is a good band, but there’s no denying that they will draw that type of audience from ‘Float On.’ Being that the song hit back in 2005, it’s clear just from watching them play that they’re not only used to this but have learned how to use it to their advantage. They don’t pull the cliché 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. There’s not big show of “alright, now here’s the song you all came to hear,” it’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. It’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 ‘Dashboard’ and ‘The World at Large’ sounded full and cram packed with instrumental layers coming from the production of the festival’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), it’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 “status.” Not so with the Killers. After being gone for a full two years, they’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, it’s easy to see the band returning to a similar level of success. Especially after seeing their set at Firefly. Definitely the “biggest” 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, it’s hard to deny that the Killers know how to put on a show. Opening with ‘Somebody Told Me,’ arguably their biggest hit, they made it clear that they weren’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 I’m not as enraptured with the band as everyone else is. They’re a massive band to have headlining, and one of the few that isn’t touring at the moment, and even I have to admit that hearing ‘When You Were Young’ 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 they’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, it’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. It’s only a few days after the last band left the stage, but it’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 year’s festival. It’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 they’re working on their first new record in over seven years. With the possibility of new songs and playing on the power of the festival’s main stage, it was no surprise to see a massive crowd awaiting the band’s arrival before they even took the stage. Sticking with the same lineup from their last studio album Rebel, Sweetheart, it’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 that’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 band’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 ‘Sixth Avenue Heartache’ and ‘One Headlight’ 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 band’s material, with the darker, hard rock undertones reflected in the song titles themselves, ‘Devil’s Waltz’ and ‘Hospital for Sinners’ respectively. Dylan seemed determined to get these new songs out there and in a moment of self-awareness announced the crowd that “alright, the new song section is over,” before moving into the band’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; they’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 ‘Here It Goes Again,’ they essentially promoted their way into people’s iPods because of their music videos. In a time where music videos are a dying art, it’s great to see a band like OK Go not only put tons of effort in it but have a ball doing it. They’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 ‘Return,’ in which the band plays hand bells placed amongst a chessboard. Lead singer Damian Kulash informed the crowd just prior to the song, “let’s go to church,” 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 band’s aesthetic on stage (and yes, meaning the face paint), it’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 ‘i want, i want!’ 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 ‘Shiver, Shiver’ and ‘Quesadilla’ 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 they’re holding like pros, all the while singing and dancing with faces of guys who wholeheartedly love what they’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, it’s always astounding how they manage to get better with every show. Even the band’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 ‘The Liftaway’ and ‘I Can Lift a Car’ not only mixed the band’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 Moon’s take on raising the roof. It all led into the absolute fire storm of a summer anthem, ‘Anna Sun.’ 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: there’s only one thing to do during a Walk the Moon show, drop whatever you’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 hasn’t started their tour yet. One of the best songs off the new album and maybe even the best of the set was ‘Mean Spirits.’ 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 ‘Growing Old is Getting Old,’ 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. It’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 it’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, ‘Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)’ 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 Silversun’s set, even as far as earning thanks from Brian himself for sticking around despite the ominous clouds and impending rain. The band’s two biggest hits, ‘Panic Switch’ and ‘Lazy Eye’ both received roars from the crowd during their opening notes. While the former is much more upbeat and the latter is similar to ‘Growing Old’ 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 can’t throw the “they sound like (insert band name here)” 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 he’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 it’s a bad thing. Comprised mostly of White Stripes and Raconteurs “covers,” (and a wicked appearance of the Dead Weather’s ‘I Cut Like a Buffalo’), it kinda felt like a White Stripes gig. Minus Meg. It’s pretty clear he still loves playing these songs, almost as much as the crowd loves hearing them. Kicking right off with ‘Dead Leaves and Dirty Ground,’ 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. ‘Freedom at 21’ 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 song’s transformation. It may be a bit cliché to name ‘Seven Nation Army’ as the highlight of the set, but come on, it’s ‘Seven Nation Army.’ 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; it’s ‘Seven Nation Army’ 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 didn’t seem to mind as he remarked to the crowd, “I know you’re out there in the rain, but you kind of like it, don’t you?” 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 “see Seven Nation Army live” off my gig bucket list? Check.
WALK THE MOON
Walk the Moon, Morning Parade, there are even similarities in their names, but that’s just where the similarities start. When I heard that these two would be on tour together, I couldn’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 Moon’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 weren’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 “Under the Stars.” Lead singer Steve Sparrow joked with the front row, stating, “You’re going to get wet, and you’re going to get wet..” and they responded by dancing and jumping around. You can always count on the front row to start the notion.
Lesser known tracks, “Marble Attic” (not featured on their newly released album) and “Close To Your Heart” 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. It’s amazing to know that they are still kind of a new band in America, but they’re able to make such an impact in their live performance.
“Blue Winter” continued the set and intrigued the audience even more. The beginning “ahhs,” Steve’s falsetto on “winter,” 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 Moon’s album release before even mentioning their own. This then segued into the next song, “Carousel” 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 “cheers” and hugs, Morning Parade thanked the guys for an amazing tour and broke out into “Headlights,” which the majority knew and sang along.
Last came perfect closer and closer on the album too, “Born Alone.” 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, “Wow, they were great” 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. I’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 “The Liftaway” (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 “heys” and claps started “Quesadilla,” to which some slight moshing broke out. Lead singer and keyboardist turned drummer, Nicholas Petricca’s rhythmic snare drum banging sparked even more dancing and carried into chorus building “Next in Line.” 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 “Jenny.”
Another older song from i want! i want!titled just that brought out the die-hard fans as they chanted “I’m 17 and you don’t know me/I’m drinking wine with all of the girls” over some pretty smooth and mood evoking keyboard rhythms.
Petricca then picked it back up with “Tightrope” 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, “Lisa Baby” started with Maiman’s cutting guitar and Ray’s melody carrying bass, before erupting into “when my baby is a mess, my baby is a dancing queen.”
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 “Tete a Tete” to them.
After hearing the recognition, Morning Parade joined them on stage for “Shiver Shiver,” to which they and WtM’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 I’ve ever seen on tour together.
After the song and laughter ended, the glimmering intro to “Anna Sun” 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 that’s not all they had in store for us. They emerged on stage againperforming a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” to which the audience did. Ending their set was “I Can Lift A Car” 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 that’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 we’ll see what the future holds.
WALK THE MOON have hit the #1 spot on Sirius/XM’s Alt Nation’s Countdown with their explosive single “Anna Sun”. “Anna Sun” 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 CBS’s The Late Show with David Letterman the week of June 18th.
Earlier this year WALK THE MOON released the “Anna Sun EP” which consists of three tracks, “Tightrope”, “Next In Line” and “Anna Sun”. The music video for “Anna Sun” recently crossed the 1 million play mark on VEVO and continues to burn up the radio charts.
WALK THE MOON’s self titled album is produced by Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective) and features tracks from the “Anna Sun EP”, 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 NBC’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 “Last Call” as well as an incredible live performance on Late Night wth Jimmy Fallon.
Named one of “MTV’s Artists to Watch for 2012,” WALK THE MOON, who has already toured as part of MTVU’s first ever “Woodies Tour” 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 “Opening act Walk the Moon looked and sounded like a band that will be starting its own headlining tour in short order.”
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 – WRZK Mayday – Klipsch Music Center
5/28/2012 Quincy, WA – Sasquatch Music Festival – The Gorge Amphitheatre
5/29/2012 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
6/3/2012 San Diego, CA – XTRA-F “X-Fest 2012”
6/4/2012 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
6/6/2012 Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room
6/8/2012 Dallas, TX – The Prophet Bar
6/9/2012 Austin, TX – The Parish
6/11/2012 Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
6/12/2012 Lawrence, KS – Granada Theatre
6/13/2012 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
6/14/2012 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
6/15/2012 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
6/16/2012 Pontiac, MI – iLounge
6/18/2012 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
6/21/2012 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts
6/22/2012 Washington D.C. – Black Cat
6/23/2012 New York, NY – Governors Ball Music Festival
7/15/2012 Louisville, KY – The Forecastle Festival – The Riverfront Belvedere
7/20/2012 Dover, DE – 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, “Headlights” 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 “Us and Ourselves” to the feel good anthem “Under the Stars”, the album takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, meandering between different textures and dynamics. The rousing no-holds barred rock’n’roll of “Blue Winter” and “Headlights” pack a considerable punch as album openers while the delicate ode to unrequited love that is “Monday Morning” juxtaposes with the life-affirming show-stopper “Born Alone.”
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 Cain’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