REVIEW: Walk The Moon at Summerfest
The hook to Walk the Moon’s signature hit, “Shut Up and Dance”, warns you to not look back, but it was hard not to look back at the thousands of fans that filled the Miller Lite Oasis on Friday night. The band made their 4th stop at Summerfest, and clearly the repetition, along with several big singles, have paid off. With every song intro and lyric, fans were screaming along. While casual listeners might only know a few hit singles, it was evident that the crowd at the Oasis on Friday were anything but casual listeners.
You’d almost have to be a diehard to endure the rain that soaked openers Tigernite and Vinyl Theatre, who put on solid sets, despite the weather. By the time the headliners were ready to go on, though, the rain had settled, and the bleachers were packed. In the second that the band hit the intro to “Up 2 U”, though, the weather was forgotten about completely, and a wave of screams accompanied the band onstage. The next hour and a half were all about Walk The Moon, and they made the show memorable.
The majority of the setlist consisted, not surprisingly, of the band’s 2014 album “Talking Is Hard”. In fact, only two tracks from the album, “Down In The Dumps” and “We Are The Kids”, didn’t make it in to Milwaukee on Friday. Frontman Nicholas Pettrica mentioned a few times that the band had been working on a new album, and they were excited to share it with the fans, but they couldn’t disclose any more than that yet. Nevertheless, the show felt like a celebration of “Talking Is Hard”, both for its significance to the band and the album’s material itself. It looked like the band was genuinely having fun playing the record that made them famous, three years after the fact.
The night was mostly upbeat, with crowd singalongs to just about every song from start to finish. Pettrica might have been fine without any reverb on his microphone; the crowd was willing to echo his every word. He bounced along with bassist Kevin Ray for most of the night, and the two banged along to some tracks on a pair of clear floor toms, complete with fluorescent drumsticks that glowed off of the band’s light show.
There wasn’t much braking by Walk The Moon, with the exception of “Aquaman”, featuring only Pettrica and guitarist Eli Maiman to start, and a lengthy “thought” that the frontman had about the concept of pain. While the former seemed to fit into the set, the latter felt like a tangent; Pettrica viewed pain as information, and seeing as the rant was late in the set, might have been a bit of a stall tactic for everyone to catch their collective breath before hitting the night’s final numbers. The regular set closed on smash hit “Shut Up and Dance”, and after a very short departure from the stage, an encore of early hit “Anna Sun” closed the night.
Walk The Moon have grown up as a band as their appearances at Summerfest tally continues to climb. While the band is entering their tenth year since being formed, they’re still very much a young and fresh group. With a new album on the way, it seems likely that we’ll see Walk The Moon at Summerfest for years to come, and if they, along with their fanbase, continues to grow, Friday night was evidence that those future appearances could very well take place as a headlining act in the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.