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Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13

Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Walk the Moon
with the Mowgli's and Smallpools
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

War paint? Check. Dancing shoes? Check. Teenage energy? Check. All three are requirements at a Walk the Moon show. The Ohio band was back in town for a sold-out show at First Avenue. Fueled by the inescapable summer hit "Anna Sun," the band played to packed Mainroom, hopeful that Prince was in the audience.

See Also: Slideshow: Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13

With a setup graced with light-up trees echoing the band's album cover, the quartet approached the stage to the opening song from the movie The Lion King. Walk the Moon can be described as a poppier version of Imagine Dragons, with their catchy songs and many drums scattered onstage -- readily available to beat on when they wanted to ramp up the crowd.

Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13
Photo by Erik Hess

All of their songs are synth-heavy and bring to mind '80s pop. Most of the crowd was not even born in that decade, so everything was new to them, especially pieces like "Next in Line" and "Tightrope." To try something new, the band threw in one they have never played live before called "Sidekick." Judging by the reception, it could have some legs, but then again, the crowd was ready to scream for anything the band did -- from the gyrations of lead singer Nicholas Petricca to the invitation to clap along from bassist Kevin Ray.

Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13
Photo by Erik Hess

While many of their songs are incredibly memorable with hooks filled to the brim, much of Walk the Moon's lyrics leave room for a lot of growth. Really, fans that connect with lines like "Do you have a boyfriend?" on "Boyfriend" and "I wanna be the sand inside that hourglass" for "Jenny" may think they're clever at 15, but they could outgrow them in a few years. Perhaps the slower tune "Iscariot," which has deeper lyrics and a rain stick, and the perfect party song "Me and My Friends" can keep the fans interested.
 
The audience went wild for the superhero piece "I Can Lift a Car" -- and had Petricca coming out into the audience -- but the single-song encore of "Jenny" was what everyone was waiting for. For those old enough to know it, "867-5309" was expected to pop up in the lyrics, but the keytar that was brought out was enough nostalgia for the evening.

Walk the Moon at First Avenue, 10/29/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Walk the Moon is a classic case study of how music can parallel a religion to some people. You live and breathe the music, memorizing every lyric and dwell in its philosophies. Even the clothes you wear are influenced by the type of music you listen to, and when they tell you to raise your hands in the air (and paint your face), you do so. God forbid anyone criticize your favorite band, because you will defend them -- sometimes blindly -- to the death.

Critic's bias: I compared Walk the Moon to Imagine Dragons earlier, but I'm not sure they will have the same career stamina as the Dragons. Most of WTM's music touches on love, while ID talks more about life situations and epic events.

The crowd: Fans ranging from 7 to young 20s and many parents.

Overheard in the crowd: "How does my face paint look?"

Random notebook dump: Although the band liked to swear (a lot), for some reason, the show had a Christian-rock concert vibe.

Setlist

Next in Line
Quesadilla
Lisa Baby
Sidekick
Bring Me Back
Tightrope
Anywayican
Tete-a-Tete
Boyfriend
Shiver Shiver
Me and My Friends
Iscariot
Fixin'
I Can Lift a Car
Anna Sun

Encore
Jenny

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