It’s fairly safe to say that Ohio band Walk The Moon have had their fame escalated since the release of 2014 hit Shut Up and Dance. With many people only knowing this song it must be daunting for the band every time they tour, that the crowd will be waiting in anticipation for that track, and that track only. This was far from the case though last Friday at Leeds Stylus where the US band played to a packed crowd singing back every word from their back catalogue of songs from their four studio albums.
The Press Restart tour had kicked off in venues across Europe so by the time the band landed in Leeds, their set had been well rehearsed and they seemed relaxed right from the start. Coming out in a sea of smoke and low lighting, Nick Petricca opened the show in majestic fashion with “Press Restart”. The crowd were up for it, the band were notably on point and after warming everyone up with “Portugal” and “Lisa Baby” from their earlier records, the focus of the evening switched to their latest record, “What if Nothing”.
Playing a host of tracks from the album on the night, the songs are by far the most ambitious of their career so far. “Kamikaze” and “All I Want” showed the contrasting styles of track on the album and defined the rest of the set. If there’s one thing you take away from a Walk The Moon gig, it’s that they do not fit under one genre Every song took on a different style and I can easily say the band were one of the most musically talented I’ve seen to date. Playing a range of instruments, Kevin Colter Ray was a real talent on the night and the depth that the band have, the musical ability evident across the members, make them surely destined for major success one day.
Whilst “Shut Up and Dance” provided a whole lot of energy, the track for me, hinders the overall progress of Walk The Moon and is by far the weakest track in the set. The song is not typical of a Walk The Moon track and actually feels like a song they would rather brush over than make a big deal about; that being said, it was the biggest sing along of the night and the room was electric as soon as the opening riff began.
“Tightrope” and “Different Colours” are songs of such quality, it’s hard to see how their commercially successful hit came about. From the lead guitar, to the raft of drums on show, the band were in sync and well rehearsed, providing a wonderful night of musical entertainment. Rarely do you see a band where all members can sing either; some of the harmonies on show in “Surrender” and “Tiger Teeth” to name just two, were sublime and at times you could close your eyes and be lost in a world of musical brilliance.
Whilst the band’s key USP is their ability to write a killer chorus, they can also build tracks in such a perfect way you never want any of the songs to end. The final three songs before the encore were 15 of the best minutes of music I’ve perhaps ever had the pleasure of viewing and hearing. “One Foot” has a chorus and hook that is so catchy it can detract from the amount of music on show within the track; from being played at the Commonwealth Games in Australia to mainstream TV shows in the UK, the song seems to be everywhere right now and deservedly so. Live, Nick and the band had it on point and it was a genuine delight to sing along to. Set closer “Headphones” is also another one of their tracks that screams quality. The vocal was excellent but the way in which the whole band come together during the track to riff and mash out their music was phenomenal. From synth pop to heavy rock, Walk the Moon really do have everything and Headphones is the perfect showcase for that.
Ending with “Anna Sun” the band had affirmed themselves as true musicians performing to an adoring fan base. Walk The Moon have the potential to challenge the big leagues globally but people need to take a chance on them and realise they are much, much more than a one-hit wonder. Never have I seen a band that can span genres with such ease and deliver hit after hit the way in which Walk The Moon do. One of the outstanding live bands, Leeds enjoyed every second of the Press Restart tour and we are already counting down to the next time they are back here in the UK.