Walk the Moon in the Valley of Anna Sun

Photos and Review by Kelly Fox

While I normally write reviews from the perspective of an outsider, I  don’t think it’s possible for me to shake my personal bias toward Walk the Moon. When I heard they were coming to The Van Buren, I swooned, and after months of waiting, the show didn’t disappoint. After a long break due to frontman Nick Petricca’s father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Walk the Moon is back with the fury of a thousand Anna Suns.

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An unusual portion of the crowd was there to see Company of Thieves, the opener. Unleashing straight-up rock and roll on the crowd, complete with red leather miniskirts and mile-long guitar solos, the three-piece with additional touring members gave Phoenix a quick, snappy set.

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Anyone who has been to more than a few concerts can attest to seeing an opening band that just looks bored. Even if the front members are into the set, a drummer or keyboardist thrown in the back will lose momentum.

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Such was not the case with Company of Thieves—with everyone shoved forward to make way for Walk the Moon’s production setup, each member was thrown into the spotlight. They certainly rose to the challenge. Frontwoman Genevieve Schatz’s performance was expectedly vibrant, but even the keyboardist and bassist were killing it.

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Walk the Moon has had a long-time love affair with Phoenix—from their trip to the Rhythm Room in 2012, to Crescent Ballroom, to The Van Buren. Over the past six years, they’ve accumulated quite an impressive discography, making the creation of the perfect set list quite a challenge.

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Nevertheless, that quartet balanced old and new material splendidly, paying homage to nearly every era of Walk the Moon. I will say, however—guys, you can’t miss “Jenny”!

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Highlights of the set included a celebration of guitarist Eli Maiman’s birthday, new material like “One Foot,” and the gradual shedding of clothing from both the band and audience. The Van Buren often hosts dance parties, but a deejay’s got nothing on a Walk the Moon show.

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WtM has a fascinating mix of fans. Every band attracts new listeners every time they put out material, but with smash-hits so spread out in their career, Walk the Moon has their OG B-sides and rarities fans of 2009, those who hopped on at Anna Sun in 2012, and the SUAD kids of 2014. Their shows, however, bring them all together under one roof with the goal of unrelenting positivity. It’s a beautiful, temporary community.

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It’s been awhile since Walk the Moon has graced the world with their presence, and Phoenix certainly didn’t take it for granted. What if Nothing is an album of straight bangers, and to tell the truth, we need a little time to fully appreciate the gift they’ve bestowed upon us before we get new music. Nevertheless, we hope to see them back in the Valley of the Sun ASAP.

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