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LIVE REVIEW: TALKING IS HARD Tour WALK THE MOON w/ The Griswolds Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR

WALK THE MOON’s front man, Nicholas Petricca is one of those people you question if they are actually human. He has this insane ability to dance sporadically throughout a 90-minute set, scream at the top of his lungs, and doesn’t even visibly break a sweat, or seem winded. That said, the rest of us sure do during this crazy dance party that is the TALKING IS HARD Tour.

Australian band, The Griswolds, jump right into things with “Right On Track” from their debut full-length album, Be Impressive. The song is full of call and response making it obvious who their fans were prior to tonight’s show, though by the end of the song, they have hooked us all. Apparently WALK THE MOON is pretty impressed with them as well because they became immediate friends, so close, in fact, that lead singer of The Griswolds, Christopher Whitehall, says, “we love them all. If one of them has a kid I hope to be named their godfather…The Godfather.” They continue their set with the title track of the debut album, “Be Impressive.” The song, like WALK THE MOON’s “Spend Your $$$,” begins with an almost Sesame Street intro of kids shouting, “Be impressive, be-e impressive,” during which, of course, the whole audience chimes in. They end their set with a dramatic rendition of their song, “Heart of A Lion,” which Whitehall sings from the photo pit making it very clear they are more than ready to begin headlining their own tour.

Though I have not go to any other shows on this tour, I know that WALK THE MOON are opening their set differently tonight. As the background music plays, “Circle of Life” starts to play. It’s all because as Petricca puts it later in the set, “do you guys know what this is? This is the piñata project. She put love notes to us inside with some tasty candy.” The piñata is a llama, and for this moment, the llama is Simba as he holds it up above his head. Then they start with the first track from TALKING IS HARD, “Different Colors.” As the second song ends, the band introduces themselves the only way they know how, “We are WALK THE MOON and we are from Ohio…You are from Portland.” The first part of that sentence has become their catchphrase now seen on shirts throughout the crowd.

The whole show feels like a big dance party, actually, I’d go so far as to say a rave. With the neon lights and brightly colored face paint all we’re missing is glow sticks. (are you taking notes, WALK THE MOON?)

Even with all the energy in the venue, Petricca has this serenity that he shares with us throughout the show. Following each powerful song, Petricca leads us through a short, almost guided, meditation. This calms us down but also brings us closer as a fan base. It’s one thing to dance with people and feel a connection. It’s quite another to feel that same connection with your eyes closed and everyone around you standing still. This is how we start the intro to “I Can Lift A Car.” Petricca, speaking to the new fans, says, “I want to take a minute and have you look into your mind and find all the bullshit. I want you to take all the bullshit and drag it in. Now push it up your spine and out of your body.” No matter what stress you are going through, this five-minute song makes it better, at least for the time being. Petricca reminds us that we don’t have to let this feeling go after the show. We should keep it with us. These are words to live by.

I have never met a band that is so genuinely grateful of their fans. Following a cover of The Killers, “All The Things I’ve Done,” Petricca says, “You guys are the reason, you guys are the whole point of this.” This sentiment leads into their most famous song, “Anna Sun.” As the band leaves the stage, bassist, Kevin Ray, mouths “thank you so much.”

Every band says this, but for WALK THE MOON, it’s true, you feel like a family leaving the venue.

You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here for WALK THE MOON.

You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here for The Griswolds.

And, be sure to check out my album review of TALKING IS HARD here.

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Ariella Laichas-Malamud

Co-editor of this fine publication and loving every minute of it. Music is my life as seen by all of my usernames. When I'm not doing music, I'm watching netflix or talking about poetry. Native to sunny city by the beach, English major in one of the rainiest cities on earth.

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