Wringing out every drop of energy from the crowds that screamed mercilessly for them at the Hollywood Palladium, indie-pop act Walk the Moon was a live-wire of frenzied energy Friday night. Led by Nicholas Petricca in his pure white, tasseled jacket — looking like a glam-rocker from a bygone decade, the band enthralled fans with a sensory overload of synthesizer-gleaming melodies that played into their excessively, dance-centered show. Very few bands managed to find a grip on the precarious clefts of new wave, combining the glamorous-sheen and grandiosity found in both rock and pop into music and a live show that accentuates both. Like their contemporaries in The Killers and Young the Giant, Walk the Moon splits the difference in their various influences and opts for authenticity by way of pure, overwhelmingly synthesized passion.
Touching on the entirety of their discography, the band whipped and wailed themselves onstage like they were playing for a crowd of thousands–and they might as well have been. Petricca loses himself onstage, alternating from igniting a firestorm of synth-avalanches from his keyboard to taking his microphone to the edge of the stage and teasing hundreds of outstretched arms. Blending together effortlessly their early rock sentiments with the immensity of their powerhouse dance-hits like “Shut Up and Dance,” Walk the Moon gave every indication that each growth in their music was as organic as the next. From the quaking rock emotiveness of “Shiver Shiver” and “Tightrope,” to the more heady, body-shaking releases in “Portugal” and “Avalanche,” the band has a clear penchant for pressing their foot onto the throttle with every song they deliver. A run-through of “Headphones” gave-way to a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” injecting into the minds of everyone present a newfound need for other rock covers to be offered up by the band. Petricca and company were made for the stage, the bigger the better, and the short cover only served as a reminder that the band’s immensely ambitious vision for their sonics is one born out of serious talent.
In their encore, Walk the Moon gave back to fans the song that essentially first introduced them to most likely everyone in the building, allowing the light but percussively thundered medley of “Anna Sun” to descend on the crowd. A poignant indie-rock tune that accentuates everything Walk the Moon does so damn well, from its soft, but emphatic vocals to its anthemic howls of guitar-drum work, every piece of the song pulses with a breathy passion that is impossible to move yourself to. Even its lyrics carry a kinesthetic weight that imagines itself as this dance between two lovers, one deeply human and the other rooted in the almost ethereal, but both terribly intimate. Live, Petricca and company echo every ounce of that wonder in a manner that leaves you wide-eyed, drenched in the glittery technicolor of emotion and sound that they spend their entire show frantically using their hands to cup and pour onto you. It’s bands like these that dispel the cultural myth of the vapidness of pop music.
Words & Photography: Steven Ward