by Marisa Kenny
I don’t know what possessed me to stand outside the House of Blues for four hours in freezing temperatures last Sunday. Maybe it was the fact that I was seeing one of my favorite bands live for the first time in almost four years. Maybe I just love torture. Maybe I’m insane. But all my dreams were crushed when I finally got into the music hall and saw the VIP ticket holder crowd in front of the stage. My extreme efforts were crushed by a few dozen people that just paid a few extra bucks for tickets.
Walk the Moon’s opening act was Company of Thieves. The Chicago band, after a three year break up, have reunited in the last year. The set was interesting to say the least. Their act didn’t feel like it was cohesive and while the rest of the crowd was responsive and excited, I was left confused as to what exactly was going on. Lead singer Genevieve Schatz sounded like a mixture of Hayley Williams and Halsey with the theatricality of my high school choir director. On stage was a phone receiver hooked up to the speaker system. While it was great in theory it wasn’t functional in practice.While I wasn’t that far from the stage, each time Schatz would reach for it you could only hear the faintest output and desired effect. After waiting so long for this show, their 45 minute set left me wanting something else.
Walk the Moon came out to a crowd so eager for their set to begin. The band opened with ‘Press Restart’ the first song off their newest album. After such a lackluster opener, Walk the Moon exuberated excitement and energy. Joining the band onstage for this tour was Lucky West of The Griswolds. He added very little to the stage presence which was surprising because the main members were conversational throughout the set, with the exception of drummer Sean Waugaman. Both guitarist Eli Maiman and bassist Kevin Ray joined Nicholas Petricca in engaging with the crowd and getting everyone excited. He was not mentioned by anyone in the band and I would have had no idea who he was if I hadn’t have seen The Griswolds open for another band a few years ago.
While their third album, What if Nothing, should have been the focus of the night the majority of their set consisted of older music. I’m on the fence about this choice. On one hand I liked hearing the older songs, but I was excited to hear the new album live and would have sacrificed an older song for a newer one. Especially since one song from What if Nothing is rotated out each night.
To calm down the crowd, only Petricca and Maiman remained onstage to perform ‘Aquaman’ acoustically. While it was not a song I particularly understood during my first listen of their sophomore album, it grew on me and this rendition has given me a greater appreciation of the song. Walk the Moon gained most of their popularity from the hit ‘Shut up and Dance.’ While many are sick of hearing the campy tune at every wedding and function they go to now until the end of time, something about this song just gets me pumped. Having it as part of the main set made it seem less like a one hit wonder and more like a part of the band’s positive and sunny disposition.
The band ended their main set with ‘Headphones.’ While the night had been building up to it I could feel the bass throughout my whole body almost as if it had enough force to push me backwards. The band really put on a show with this song as the stage lights went wild and the band danced around stage. After a few moments the band came back for an encore of ‘Up 2 U’ and ‘Anna Sun.’ While ‘Anna Sun’ was an obvious choice, ‘Up 2 U’ was interesting for an encore. ‘Shut up and Dance’ and ‘One Foot’ were used in the main set (which is fine) but what made ‘Up 2 U’ so special? I almost expected ‘Work this Body’ as it was albeit the less popular second single from Talking is Hard but also the name of their cancelled 2016 summer tour.
I’m pretty biased when it comes to this band but expectations were met and exceeded when it comes to this long awaited show. There was still so much energy in the room as the house lights came up and the stage was teared down. This was one show out of a handful I’ve been to where the audience was feeling the after effects of the show while leaving the venue.