There are artists whose live shows mirror their recordings. There are artists whose on-stage energy adds an extra spark to the music. And then there’s Walk the Moon. The band’s shear enthusiasm, energy, and insane musical prowess make the Cincinnati four-piece’s live shows like nothing else.
This year’s highly-anticipated headliner wrapped up Movin’ On with an emotional and colorful set that any attendee could get into. When the lights dimmed at exactly 9:30 (shoutout to Movin’ On for keeping the show right on schedule) the crowd went wild as “The Circle of Life” played the band on stage. The strobe lights then transitioned the group into fast-paced, bass-driven “Jenny.”
“It’s been an amazing night,” lead singer Nick Petricca said after the first song. “It cleared up just for us, whattya know!”
From there Walk the Moon moved into a few songs from its most recent album “TALKING IS HARD” — “Sidekick,” “Avalanche,” and single “Different Colors.” The crowd broke out a “We Are” chant before Petricca picked it up and lead one for himself.
“Yeah I like that,” he said, somewhat seductively. “I don’t care about the cold weather, I don’t care about the rain. This is fucking awesome.”
The band kept the crowd moving with another trio of fast-paced jams; “Tightrope,” from their self-titled debut album, as well as “Up 2 U” and “Work This Body,” both of which show off Petricca’s wide vocal range and guitarist Eli Maiman’s funky guitar licks.
Walk the Moon slowed it down a little bit with older song “Lisa Baby” and newer vibe-jam “Aquaman” before rolling into inspirational “I Can Lift A Car.” That sounds corny, but the presentation was far from it. Before actually getting into the song, Petricca asked everyone to ditch their stresses, if only for a minute.
“State College, we’d like to get a little weird with you,” he said. “All of you are about to go destroy your exams and then go off and forget about it.” The atmosphere was carefree and emotional, and if you asked any person in attendance at that moment they would probably be convinced that they could actually lift a car.
I’ll admit I wasn’t really looking forward to mega-hit “Shut Up And Dance” due to the song’s mainstream success (and THON infamy), but when the guitar lick started it was like hearing the song for the first time. The band was into it, the crowd was jumping, and no one cared that it was on every radio station all summer. The energetic rendition of the hit was fun, and if you’re going to play such an overplayed song (which, obviously you are), that’s just the way to do it.
The show can’t go on forever though and after “Shut Up And Dance” there was still one major Walk the Moon song missing — “Anna Sun.”
“We gotta get outta here and you guys gotta go party,” Petricca said before diving into the song that first afforded the band national attention. After six performers and probably about one hundred songs, the feel-good “Anna Sun” was just the one to leave Movin’ On with and send Penn Staters into finals and the summer and seniors into the real world. As a light rain began to fall again and Petricca sang the chorus’ “we’re gonna rattle this ghost town,” there was, for a minute, no stress, no finals, and no real world — just one Penn State community coming together to send the seniors off.
Penn State was lucky to experience Walk the Moon’s one-of-a-kind live performance, however. A few weeks ago the band announced it was cancelling its summer tour due to a serious illness in Petricca’s family. Despite this, the band, Petricca especially, was electric on stage and the group never disappoints when it comes to putting it all out there for their live shows.
Walk the Moon lived up to and far exceeded the expectations set for them as headliner. The group’s live show is always thrilling and engaging and was by far the best performance of the night.