By Erin Coulehan, Contributor, DC Music Live
Hoards of fans gathered at 9:30 Club on Thursday decked out in their best tribal face paint to see Walk the Moon’s sold out show on its first headlining tour. The band created a fantasy-like mood before taking the stage by blasting the whimsical opening to Willy Wonka, and then emerging in front of a tree house-themed back drop based on the self-titled album cover.
“We wanted to extend the Peter Pan, lost boys, – lost band – sort of theme,” laughed Eli Maiman who plays guitar and sings in Walk the Moon.
For the band’s debut video, “Anna Sun,” the poppy quartet don tribal-like face paint which plays into the band’s youthfully exuberant persona.
This playful idea has proven to be the band’s most clever, albeit inadvertent, marketing tactic. As the video for “Anna Sun” and the band got more popular, fans started painting their own faces before attending the live shows.
This playful “well why not?” attitude is one of the things that enhanced the band’s presence on stage as lead vocalist Nicholas Petricca encouraged the crowd to get weird; like teenage friends daring you to skinny dip in your neighbor’s pool while they’re out of town.
Since the release of its first full length album, Walk the Moon has made a name for itself through its electric-charged guitar riffs, sing-along choruses and energetic live performances which feature heavy drum beating, and lots of dancing.
“We want the fans to really take a lot from seeing us perform at shows,” says Maiman over the phone on a blisteringly cold Tuesday morning in the band’s home of Cincinnati. “We’re taking a zig-zag tour across America and are looking forward it.”
After producing its debut EP, I want! I want!, in 2010, Walk the Moon signed with RCA Records and has been learning the rules of the road from more experienced bands on tour. Maiman describes visiting Finland for the first time while on tour with Fun. during a six week tour in Europe, and that the crowd’s receptiveness motivated them to aspire to a higher level of success.
Thursday’s show proved that Walk the Moon has acquired a loyal fan base all its own, which coincides with what Maiman describes as a “visual expression and experience” the band wants fans to have while at the shows.
The crowd was a wave of energy which erupted when the band played “Shiver, Shiver” the sexy and suggestive single walking the listener through a seduction.
“You grip your hands around my throat(hands around my throat/)And you strip the buttons off my coat(buttons off my coat/)And I choose the methods I do best(methods I do best/)And the thump thump, the thumping in your chest/When you are close to me I shiver,” purred Petricca to the crowd which quivered with excitement to the band’s shiver, shivers.
The band left the stage momentarily to mop up the sweat which had washed away most of the face paint before returning for an encore which featured the anthemic “I Can Lift a Car” describing the adrenaline-infused sensation of a fling fueled by mutual attraction and incomparable chemistry. Ah, the power of lust.
The last song of the night was the previously unreleased “Drunk in the Woods” which featured a rumbling bass and was an edgy departure from the rest of the set, but still had the crowd wanting more from the indie-pop quartet even as they exited onto the cold DC streets – face paint and all.