“I think someone lost these,” uttered befuddled bassist Kevin Clay on Tuesday night as he picked a pair of panties off the stage near the end of the night.
“I think someone lost these,” uttered befuddled bassist Kevin Clay on Tuesday night as he picked a pair of panties off the stage near the end of the night. The band may have been confused by the unknown female’s public display of affection, but if you were at The National on Tuesday night, you know full well that it was extremely fitting for Walk The Moon‘s set.
The band returned to Richmond on Tuesday night for the first time in two years delivering a set that was wilder beyond imagination. Crowd surfing, confetti bubbles, killer guitar (and even drum) solos, intense lighting; their set was “rock and roll” in every way while still being as childish and carefree as the face paint the band & crowd so proudly adorned.
Synth-rockers Magic Man opened the night up before a crowd dripping with anticipation. For being unknowns, I’ve never seen a crowd take to an opener as well as Magic Man. Perhaps it was the teenage crowd and their affinity for lead singer Alex Caplow, but it was also his amazing stage presence that led to a raucous applause after their set. That’s not to say the band itself was bad. While some of their songs are strangely reminiscent of M83 and Broken Bells, songs like “Texas” and “Waves” show that Magic Man is a band capable of a different sound that’s also very familiar. But if there’s one noteworthy thing about the band, it’s Caplow who earned this band a crowd reaction every opening band prays for.
Now, I’ve seen Walk The Moon before. Back in February, I saw them at The Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville for an amazing show. It was a little odd seeing a band singing a song about never growing up while my wife & I signed an offer on a house from my phone moments before the show started, but it was an unforgettable show nonetheless and one that had me wondering if they could match my expectations in Richmond. About sixty seconds into the band’s opening song, “Quesadilla,” I knew that this show was going to be even wilder than the February one.
Crowd participation with Walk The Moon is big, as guitarist Eli Maiman stated in an interview with RVA Magazine, and it was no secret here. From Maiman & Clay directing the crowd on clapping to lead singer Nicholas Petricca giving the crowd part of the chorus in “Me & All My Friends,” the band’s intentions were clear and the crowd was ready and beyond willing to oblige. The band did everything possible to keep the energy on a constant rise throughout the night. Even with a slower paced song like “Iscariot,” the band drew the crowd into the trance-like mantra keeping the crowd connected and chomping at the bit for more.
The quartet from Cincinnati plans to hit the studio in November to record their follow-up to last year’s self-titled release and Richmond was lucky enough to hear some of their new songs. The animated song “Colors,” in particular, won the crowd over and is probably one of the more anticipated songs of the new record. Besides the new material, the set consisted of the band’s entire debut album, a few songs from their Tightrope EP release from this year, and the aforementioned “Me & All My Friends” from their 2010 self-released record I want! I want!. There wasn’t one song you missed out on (save maybe their unbelievable cover of “Burning Down The House“) and every song was just as good as it was on the album if not ten times better from the crowd energy, band performance, and lighting show.
I can’t forget to mention the lighting either. This might be one of the best lighting shows for a concert I have ever seen, not just at The National. Whoever invested the money into the band’s set design and lights definitely deserves a bonus because it made this show truly transcendent. The strobe lights and glowing tree props made every chorus, every guitar solo, and every build-up that much more powerful. Half-way through the show, a foam-bubble confetti mixture was released too adding even more to the remarkable atmosphere. The band knows just how to deliver a great concert and an amazing experience.
As “I Can Lift A Car” played and Petricca led the crowd in car-raising hand motions, the energy in the crowd started to rise even more and just combusted as the band ended their set with their hit “Anna Sun.” It seemed to manifest itself in a random fan being hoisted up and crowd surfed from one end of the floor to the other while the band raged on. After a quick breather backstage, the band came back to find the infamous panties which Clay proudly declared he might need towards the end of their tour. I don’t know what the band was expecting from Richmond or what the crowd was expecting from the band, but as “Jenny” closed out the nights thumping through the speakers, I don’t think anyone on the stage or floor expected such an amazing Tuesday night.
If you’ve listened to their music before, Walk The Moon’s work speaks for itself. Their music is addictive, their messages are relatable, and they’re clearly unique in a musical climate of imitation. But for those who’ve seen them live can attest, this music and this band were born for live performances and their performances really do have to be seen to be believed. I can spout out a hundred more superlatives on their show, but the bottom line is that nothing you were doing Tuesday night was better than this. This was a larger than life concert by a band that gets better each and every time. Who knows what they’ll have in store for Richmond next time?