WALK THE MOON w/The Mowgli’s @ Cain’s Ballroom 10/10


On their way to Austin City Limits, WALK THE MOON made a stop at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa last week, for what turned out to be the best show I’ve attended this year (so far). And let’s keep in mind, I’ve been to some great shows/festivals this year. The energy was high from the start. I really dig the face paint that WTM fans have adopted (this practice has its roots in the “Anna Sun” video, as told by the band here). So, apart from Nicholas Petricca (lead vocals, keys), Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals), and Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals), there were lots of painted faces that Thursday night in Tulsa.

Cain’s was about two thirds full, but the energy of the crowd really filled the place. There was a really great vibe going the whole night. Most of the people got there early to catch opening band, The Mowgli’s. I know this because a whole bunch of people started chanting the band’s name about 10 minutes before they came on stage. Their set was happy and fun. Just like I expected. All the members of this band (all 8 of them) just look so happy all the time. They started off with their album title track “Waiting For The Dawn.” And as soon as they started, everyone started dancing and the people up front started singing along. There were some dedicated music lovers there that night, which I loved. The Mowgli’s went through all their best songs. From my personal favorite, “Emily,” to “Hi, Hey There, Hello,” to “San Francisco” and “Say It Just Say It,” to the intense “Carry Your Will,” which featured the burning of some sage. The security guys were watching closely as this happened, but let the band go with it. I hope this band keeps touring around, and I hope that I don’t have to travel too far next time I see them. I love that they always introduce themselves by saying they believe they can change the world. They definitely set the tone for the night, as WTM would come to continue blowing our minds.

And they did.

By the time WALK THE MOON came out on stage, we were all pumped. The Cincinnati band delivered an out-of-this-world-fun show. And it all started with “Next In Line,” a song that starts slow and climaxes at the chorus, and that is where the jumping started. I took a friend with me, and she had never before listened to WTM; well, the first time was on our way to Tulsa, but before that day she didn’t know who they were. Needless to say, by the end of the show, she had become a fan. We had a mini-concert during the 2-hour drive back to Arkansas.

The set included lots of favorites from the self-released album I Want I Want and from the self-titled Walk The Moon. Some of those favorites were “Quesadilla,” “Tightrope,” and “Shiver Shiver,” as well as a couple of new songs. One of the new songs may or may not be called “Do You Have A Boyfriend?” and another one that may or may not be called “Down In The Dumps.” That last one was so catchy! I got you a whole 32 seconds worth of it right here for you:

The set also included two of the songs that were released in the Tightrope EP earlier this year. The songs from the EP and the new songs have a very 80’s electronic feel to them. There aren’t any official announcements yet, but it’s evident that their third album will be an exciting one. Front-man Nicholas said the band spent the summer writing new songs, so we could expect it 2014.

The highlight of the show, at least for me, was definitely “Anna Sun.” I think there wasn’t one person standing still inside the venue. It was amazing. Paint melting off faces, jumping, hands in the air, smiles, and singing along. Great vibes overflowing, yo!

This show was so awesome that it made me wish WALK THE MOON would release a live album. Not every band out there has what it takes to pull off a live album, but these guys do. I want it. Can we start a petition somewhere, please? As I told you before, this show was one for the books. Next time, I’m painting my face.

SETLIST: Next In Line, Quesadilla, Lisa Baby, Down In The Dumps (new song), Tightrope, Anywayican, Tete-A-Tete, Do You Have a Boyfriend? (new song), Shiver Shiver, Me & All My Friends, Iscariot, Fixin’, I Can Lift A Car, Anna Sun ENCORE: Jenny

Photo post to come. Stay tuned.

Imagine Dragons (and more) @ Starlight Theater in KC

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Let me hurry up and tell you about this show, before it hits the two-week mark.

A few days after the weekend festival Kanrocksas was cancelled due to low ticket sales, a date was added to Imagine Dragons’ tour calendar. A sort of mini-festival was put together at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, MO on June 28th.

I had never been to the Starlight Theater. And, buddy, it is nice. The prices at concession stands make you feel like you are, as my friend put it, at the Disneyland of Concert Venues; but it’s a beautiful venue nonetheless.

The bands that played that night, in order of appearance, were Churchill, Family of The Year, Twenty One Pilots, Capital Cities, and Imagine Dragons. I did some research in all bands before the show, because I was only familiar with ID, but after looking them up, I found a couple of songs I had heard somewhere before (Radio? Last.fm? Pandora? Spotify? Does anybody know where they hear songs for the first time anymore?)

My friend and I made a point to get on the road super early, just because I wanted to make sure to catch Churchill (remember?), and they were set to play first, right at 5:30pm. We were just getting into the gates when I heard one of the band members introducing the band. The second song they played was “Lock Your Heart Down,” which has been on heavy rotation in my Summer playlist. I recognized the song right away and sang along all the way until we reached our seats. Churchill formed around 2008/2009 in Denver, but they seem to be a young band on stage. I really enjoyed their set, it was a bummer that most of the people that got there early (I’d say about 1/3 of total attendance) didn’t seem to be listening to these guys. C’mon, son! Am I wrong to expect a lot of enthusiasm from people that paid to come hear music?

Next up came Family of The Year, which were great! I loved these guys. I don’t know why they didn’t stand out more when I was doing my research prior to the show, because I went back to check their albums and I really like them. Now, I’m really bad at nailing music genres, but I would describe these guys and gal as Indie Folk. They started playing and dancing around the stage, with their really sweet harmonies. It makes me think of a whole bunch of friends singing along during a road trip (I may have a whole music video with their song “The Stairs” playing in my head right now). You have to check them out. Specially you, @DocMurda. You will like them. They have two full albums out, Songbook and Loma Vista.

Twenty One Pilots was the act of the night that just took me by surprise. The Ohio duo started their set with a really heavy song that made me question the meaning of life. I really didn’t know what was happening. People were stoked, which told me they have a big of a big following. They mix electronic and hip-hop, in case you haven’t heard them before. I haven’t been able to figure out what that first song was. Revisiting their music, it sounds like it was “Ode To Sleep” and maybe it was just a lot more intense hearing it live. The set totally got better. These guys, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, have a lot of energy. A LOT of energy. The set included jumps, backflips, climbing giant speaker towers, and going up the balconies above the stage. These guys either have some gymnastics experience or had taken some redbull/5-hr-energy cocktail. My favorite part of the set was when Tyler got his ukulele and played “House Of Gold,” a song he wrote for his mom (Awww.) Their latest album is Vessel, released last year.

I didn’t enjoy Capital Cities as much as everyone else in the crowd. Their music just didn’t click with me. Their set was a bit longer than the rest. Churchill and Family of The Year both had 30-minute sets, while Capital Cities went on for about 1 hour. They were OK, I just wouldn’t have paid to see them on their own. I did enjoy their hit “Safe and Sound.” But overall, I was not impressed with the music or anything else. Not even with the silver matching jackets the whole band wore (They could have been white… Forgettable, as you can see).

The headliners of the night were Imagine Dragons. A band I’ve considered rockstar material since the first time I saw them live at a small auditorium at a casino outside the Las Vegas strip. I couldn’t believe a label hadn’t snatched them up, yet. But it happened a couple of months after that first time I saw them, to no one’s surprise. @DocMurda went to their first show of the Night Visions tour and sent me a text that fueled me to drive to KC for this show. That text said something along the lines of “Holy shit. Radioactive live!” So I couldn’t wait to experience it myself. “Radioactive” came towards the end of their set, and it was all I had imagined. @DocMurda was right!

As an introduction to “Demons,” Dan Reynolds, ID’s front man, noted that it is a song about his struggle with depression. It’s one of my favorite songs, maybe because it’s so haunting. But after the confession and the song, I needed something light and playful, so I’m glad they followed it with “Rocks.” The set also included “Tip Toe,” “Round and Round,” “Amsterdam,” “On Top Of The World,” “Hear Me” and “It’s Time.”

Dan got Missouri mixed up with Kansas at the beginning, but later apologized. I thought it was funny, and I bet it happens all the time.

I sported a sign for #OperationTokyo that I tried to flash only when any of the band members were looking my way. I didn’t want the people behind me to get too mad at me. I think new ID fans would so much appreciate their pre-Night Visions music. It would also help understand whey they come from. Too bad it’s no longer available anywhere. Why, Interscope Records, why?

The Dragons are still pretty much in awe of their success in the last year or so. In a way, it seemed like they were just a couple of steps ahead of Family of The Year and Churchill.

The almost 4 hours I drove to Kansas City, MO and back (I got back at 3:10am!) were worth it. Shout out to my friend Stephen for coming along! It appears I did a poor job of informing him of what was in store, because he look at bit surprised to see there were four “opening bands”… Can we even call them that? I don’t think so. Although I also don’t think it was a mini-music festival either. A festival is a musical smorgasbord, this was more of a musical banquet. All in all, it was so much fun. Check out the bands that played and if Imagine Dragons get close to you, go see them!

I made you a Spotify playlist. You are welcome!

And on a semi-related note, check out ID’s performance in Good Morning America:

TBT: Andy Frasco, 2010

Here’s another Throw Back Thursday post! This one was originally posted on 05/13/2010 over at BOT. Check out Andy Frasco when you get a chance. His music has evolved quite a bit since the first time I heard him:

Andy Frasco @ Rogue
Words and photos by B “Cafe Con Leche” Gutierrez

Andy Frasco and his band spent the weekend pouring their hearts out all over Dickson Street in Fayetteville, AR. Three nights, three shows, and a whole lotta soul. I decided to attend the Saturday show at Rogue after catching his warm up session at The Smoke & Barrel Tavern the previous evening, and I’m so glad I did. I had so much fun even when the show was out in the patio and the night was cold due to a cold front that rolled into town along with Frasco and the band. His piano weaves new blues rhythms in a way it makes you comfortable. No matter how cold the night is, you’d be fine as long as the music lasts.
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TBT: G. Love & Special Sauce, 2010

I’m going to start a new series of posts in honor of Throw Back Thursday (TBT). I will post one or two of the write-ups or reviews I did for the music for which I used to contribute.

The first one of the series will be my very first post for Breakfast On Tour (BOT). It was a G. Love & Special Sauce show. Here’s some helpful info: I wrote under “Cafe Con Leche.” This was originally posted on 4/18/2010. Enjoy!

G. Love & Special Sauce

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