Lollapalooza 2011, Saturday: Walk the Moon
Music writer to music writer overlooking the stage: "These guys must be English, they're very pro, the drummer is quite good." "Yeah, he's using those heavy-duty black drum heads." "The frontman has a tom, too, but uses it well." "They're really solid." "Australian?" "Yeah, they remind of Midnight Oil or what the Rapture could be if they hadn't gotten so lazy." Obviously neither of us was at SXSW—but hey, we're catching up.
Walk the Moon isn't from anywhere more exotic than Ohio—but as an early-day warm-up set on the big stage, this possible next-big-thing band brought down the house—or whatever small portion of the house had rolled out of bed and leapt into the muddy field. It also seemed to have brought its fair share of super fans, who sang along to songs that have been sold on bandcamp since 2010. The dayglo shoe wearing band has since signed to RCA. And no wonder, with spritely, complex tunes, Walk the Moon do two things well that today's indie audiences seem to respond to—layer vocal harmonies and infuse their dancey, distantly '80s-inspired tunes with thumping extra percussion. It occured to me that these days the kids like music that's basically, at its core, just light funk and don't even know it.
Also, talk about signposts, Walk the Moon covered "Let's Dance." Last year the underlying zeitgeist of the fest pointed toward an INXS revival, this year it seems to be, as odd as this sounds, mid-'80s, electric-yellow-suit-wearing David Bowie that's surging in the invisible undercurrents.