Originally known for their songs “Anna Sun” and “Quesadilla,” Walk The Moon has since exploded through the success of their 2014 summer mega-hit, “Shut Up and Dance.” Following the success of their recent world tour, Walk The Moon returned to Ithaca Monday night as part of their five-month tour across North America.
A crowd of mostly students filed into the State Theatre early to stand in the limited room between the stage and the theater seating. I was able to get a spot in the standing room and was surprised by how diverse the music taste among the crowd was: Die-hard Walk The Moon fans and casual listeners alike stood all around me awaiting the lights to dim.
Bear Hands, a Brooklyn-based indie-rock band opened at 8 p.m. The four-piece band played a host of tunes which incorporated heavy bass licks, shimmering guitar accents, looped samples and nonchalant vocals. While the band set the mood nicely for the night, they played for an hour and, by the end, overstayed their welcome.
Walk The Moon took the stage around 9:15 p.m., much to the excitement of the crowd. They began their set with the fan favorite “Lisa Baby,” followed by two popular singles, “Different Colors” and “One Foot.” They designed their setlist very well, balancing their obligation to play their most famous songs with their responsibility to play songs catering to their veteran fan base. Bassist Kevin Ray, guitarist Eli Mairman and drummer Sean Waugaman worked tirelessly to provide a solid groove. The band remained tight in their coordination all night; upbeat tunes and ballads alike were energetic and effective. Frontman Nick Petricca was particularly fantastic, leading the group with his infectious charisma, lively dancing and impressive vocals. He also provided a few enjoyable synthesizer solos which have become staples on many of the band’s tracks.
As the night went on, Walk The Moon debuted their brand new single “Timebomb.” It was well received by the crowd, although Petricca’s attempt to have the crowd sing the chorus was amusingly unsuccessful as the song hasn’t quite been out long enough for the fans to know the lyrics. Halfway through the set, the band took a short break to lead a group mindfulness session urging us all to breathe in unison and send our “love shockwave” all over the world.
They continued their positivity with the charming “I Can Lift a Car.” While the song is a bit silly, I had a great time vibing with the crowd, lifting our arms over our heads. If you buy into positivity and “fake it until you make it,” you will arrive at a genuinely happy place. “Shut Up and Dance” was, unsurprisingly, the biggest hit of the night. The crowd jumped through the whole tune. I have to admit, the song is just fun. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will dance too if you see this song live.
The indie outfit sped to a finish with their last few songs, including their cover of “Ghostbusters” from the soundtrack of the recent all-female reboot. It was unabashedly corny and, as a result, very lively. The band soared on throwback-sounding ballads “Surrender” and “Aquaman.” Walk The Moon concluded their set with punk-banger “Headphones” which included a long outro and a jam on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” The only feeling I remember from that moment was pure hype.
When they left the stage before their encore, the crowd was earth-shatteringly loud, even after a long night of singing and screaming. The group returned to sing cult-classics, “Portugal” and “Anna Sun” — much to the delight of the audience.
Walk The Moon brought their infectious charisma, tight grooves and classic hits to the the State Theatre of Ithaca. I left with my ears ringing and a big smile on my face.
James Robertson is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.