Who: Walk the Moon, Bear Hands
Where: Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, Maryland
When: February 4, 2019
A typical Monday evening in downtown Baltimore during the winter might not lure you away from the comfort of your sweatpants after a day of work to brave the elements and spend a night out. On the first Monday of February 2019, however, Walk the Moon shook up the Inner Harborâs boring routine with catchy melodies, a stellar light show, and the most energetic live experience that modern alt-rock has to offer.
The proceedings began with a laid-back set from openers Bear Hands, who used a mellower approach to the synthesizer-layered sounds that the headliners are known for. Brooklyn, New Yorkâs post-punk quartet (Dylan Rau on vocals and guitar; Val Loper on bass; TJ Orscher on drums; touring member Alex Marans on lead guitar) gave the packed room at Rams Head Live! a way to ease into the night, hypnotizing the audience with a steady stream of chill tunes. The new single âBlue Lipsâ and set-closer âGiantsâ best highlighted the bandâs use of clever juxtapositions, pairing semi-rapped lyrics concerning rocky relationships and miscommunications with addictive beats and bass lines.
Between sets, clusters of excited high-school and college-age fans clung to the rail, some with finger-painted white and black lines and dots on their faces â a tradition of die-hard Walk the Moon fans since the band members themselves donned similar looks back in their first-ever music video, âAnna Sun.â On the floor and in each of the three balcony levels, people of all ages were in attendance, with even a few young parents putting their elementary-school-age children on their shoulders at the back of the floor.
As the speakers played âCircle of Lifeâ from The Lion King original movie soundtrack, Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keyboards, synths), Eli Maiman (lead guitar), Kevin Ray (bass), and Sean Waugaman (drums) slowly took the stage. Cincinnati, Ohioâs finest foursome (plus touring member, Lachlan âLuckyâ West, on keyboards, percussion, and rhythm guitar) kicked off their set with the hormone-driven dance-rock track, âJenny,â from the bandâs 2012 self-titled debut major-label album.
Petricca, Maiman, and Ray were all smiles, dancing and bouncing around all corners of the stage while delivering powerful vocals, slick guitar solos, and hip-shaking bass grooves, respectively. All members also supplied backing vocals, making for beautiful harmonies during slower numbers like âTiger Teeth,â from 2017âs What if Nothing.
The percussion duo of Waugaman and West made for a fantastic foundation of rhythm, delivering intense fills and accents that echoed the classic 1980s pop and rock rhythms that influenced the bandâs sound, such as Talking Heads, The Police, and Tears for Fears. That eightiesâ wave of nostalgia was also evident in their overall look, with Waugaman sporting round sunglasses and a metallic gold blazer, and Ray and Petricca rocking hair tipped in platinum blonde. (Avid Sting and The Police fans mightâve also noticed what couldâve been a subtle nod to the majorette uniforms that The Policeâs female backup vocalists wore on the 1983â84 Synchronicity Tour, via frontman Petriccaâs black jacket with military-style gold accents!)
Walk the Moon took their willing audience on a sonic adventure that, for the most part, evenly mixed in songs from all three of the band’s major-label albums. A third of the way into the set, Petricca exclaimed, âBaltimore! Weâve got a new song!â The band wasted no time jumping right into their bombastic new single, âTimebomb.â The audience was wrapped around Petriccaâs finger for every chant, sing-along, and dance break.
This bond reached a new level later in the night when WTM played their massive hit song, âShut Up and Dance,â followed by their fun and carefully-crafted cover of the âGhostbustersâ theme (complete with alternating green washes of lights and spinning red and blue lights, as a tribute to the âEcto-1â automobile). The main set closed with the foot-stomping headbanger, âHeadphones,â where the band skillfully pulled off a minute-long cover of Led Zeppelinâs âKashmirâ as a surprise extended outro.
The encore with a brief âBirthday Songâ sing-along for Mr. âLuckyâ West (whose parents flew all the way from their homeland of Australia to Maryland to celebrate, as they were pointed out in the crowd by Ray and Petricca!). The crowd’s pre-encore chant of âAN-NA SUN! AN-NA SUN!â was finally answered as the second and final encore song. With the room aglow in soft, sunshine-yellow lights, the band and the audience sang every line together loud, proud, and in perfect harmony, making for a wholesome, warm and fuzzy finale.
Post and photos by Elizabeth Owens
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The post Photos l Review: Walk the Moon and Bear Hands at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore, Maryland appeared first on Concert Crap.