In the throes of an exhausting European tour, fresh off a cross-country flight from New Hampshire that took off at 4 a.m. the same morning, Cincinnati-based indie rock band Walk the Moon descended on the UC Riverside campus to perform at Spring Splash. And though their set had to be cut short because of a late arrival, they still put on arguably the best show of the day.
Starting out with the energetic, pounding song “Quesadilla,” lead singer Nicholas Petricca bounced out onto the small runway in the middle of the stage, clapping his hands and twirling, before grabbing drumsticks to pound on his bass drum while singing. The energy of the crowd skyrocketed immediately as they bounced along with each thump of the drum and had a dance party with each breezy synth.
The band continued the celebration with the driving “Next in Line,” and “Lisa Baby,” before exploding into frantic fan favorite, “Tightrope.” Petricca passionately sang, “Walk a tightrope, walk a little tightrope / You walk a tightrope, walk a little tightrope / But oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh this heart is burning up,” as facepaint-clad fans mimicked the song’s music video by raising their hands as he sang about his heart “burning up.” Before the show, Walk the Moon’s crew came through the pit to offer tribal facepaint to anyone who wanted some. The band also had the paint smeared all over their face—a staple of their live shows.
After “Tightrope,” bassist Kevin Ray couldn’t help but exclaim, “You guys are awesome!” as he and his bandmates continued running around the stage smiling at the crowd throughout their set. During the sultry “Shiver Shiver,” as well as throughout most of the songs, Petricca danced seductively while showing off his range with a very high falsetto. All three other members of the band—bassist Ray, guitarist Eli Maiman and drummer Sean Waugaman––harmonized fantastically as they backed up Petricca.
Though they could not get to some of their other great songs because of time constraints, the band closed off their set in spirited fashion with their biggest hit, “Anna Sun.” The college themed song set the crowd into a frenzy as they sang with full spirit back to the band “What do you know? This house is falling apart / What can I say? This house is falling apart / We got no money, but we got heart / We’re gonna rattle this ghost town.” Ray and Maiman ran out to the runway to play closer to the crowd, and Ray eventually climbed up on top of the speakers and jumped all the way down in excitement. Maiman ran to the other side and leaned as far as he could off the stage to play to the crowd.
Petricca at one point exclaimed how happy they were to be “in sunny Southern California,” and as they prepared to walk off the stage, Ray put up a heart sign with his hands to show his appreciation to the crowd. In spite of the short set, Walk the Moon put on the most fun set of the day, in spite of their sleep deprivation—a sentiment that I’m sure most UCR students can appreciate as midterm season comes to a head.
Click here to read Jake’s interview with Walk the Moon!