Concert Review – Walk the Moon & The Griswolds at the House of Blues (Boston, MA)

On, April 11, 2015, I jumped up and down like an idiot at the House of Blues as Walk the Moon commanded the stage to a sold out crowd.  For those of you who don’t know who Walk the Moon is, they are a pop-rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio  and consists of members, Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, and Eli Maiman.  Their name comes from the song ‘Walk on the Moon’ by The Police and gained their first hit on the radio airways of the alternative stations with ‘Anna Sun’ in 2010.  In 2014, their sophomore album ‘Talking Is Hard’ was released where the first single to hit the billboard 200 charts was ‘Shut Up and Dance.’

Now that you are educated back to the concert.  The opening act was an Australian group named The Griswolds.  This young band far from home has a young sound, but their music has a real 80s flare.  That techno sound with a mix of rock n’ roll of guitar, bass, and the drums as the musicians add in lyrics and simple backup vocals to give it that danceable beat.  A personal favorite of mine that they opened with was ’16 Years.’  A synthisized type keyboard with various rhythm instruments such as a tambourine and drums as you hear an elegant bass line and the guitar came in strong as they break into the chorus.  These Aussie boys I’m sure will be making waves soon in the states as they gain more confidence on stage and really learn to command the crowd at live shows.  What a band to learn from like Walk the Moon!

Walk the  Moon is the whole package.  They are not only great musicians and songwriters, but they are fantastic entertainers.  The start of the show had these crazy neon lights of various shapes and sizes, as well as neon lights that surrounded many of the instruments.  These lights exploded on the stage in strobe like form as they opened with a song from their new album, ‘Different Colors’.  As I watched the crowd you could tell that almost everyone there were such devoted fans from the lip syncing of the lyrics, to the the dancing around, clapping to the beat, and the waving of arms side to side as each start of a song got the audience more and more excited.

Nicholas Petricca (Lead singer) was constantly interacting with crowd through each song transition.  As Petricca asked who was a Walk the Moon show virgin it felt like we were joining a cult.  As he asked all us to put our hands up in the air and let all the bullshit fly out and to just dance it out.  This led into their hit song ‘Shut Up and Dance,’ which is awesome.  They closed the show out with ‘Anna Sun,’ which goes to show that no matter what happens we always end up back at the beginning.

Check out the video below that MsTabularasa put together of some epic movie dance scenes as it is intertwined with Walk the Moon’s ‘Shut Up and Dance.’


A Soundtrack for the Boston Transportation from Hell

FeenyMatthewsRollercoasterThis past week has been the most stressful for the city of Boston because of the public transit being in complete disarray, the national guard coming to help clear out the massive amounts of snow (FYI there is no where to put it), and the amount of inhumanity I have seen in a long time; all in one week.  Needless to say, I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time on the public transit where lately it takes me about two and half hours to get work and another two and half hours to get home.  I have learned that my kindle is my godsend and my iPod is my savor; they have both gotten a workout trying to keep me sane.  For those of you who don’t live in Boston, the commute is comparable to the reaction of George Feeny and Corey Matthews in “Boy Meets World” after they ride a death defying roller coaster.  Basically an entire city speechless and wanting to scream…a lot.

On my lovely commute, I have had a lot of time to spend in my head.  Have you ever had the music you are listening to become the soundtrack of your life, and you create this giant story line in your head from the people you meet throughout the day, then base everything on the lyrics and music on your playlist?  Fall Out Boy’s new album “American Beauty/ American Psycho” has done just that.  Fall Out Boy’s catalog has been in my music selection since their first album in 2003 “Take This to Your Grave.”  Patrick Stump has a voice that you can get lost in and the band has become inventive with playing with voice pitches during choruses and harmonies as well as connecting with the digital synth technology and combining that with their rock sound makes for an edge to their new album.

The trumpet type sound that comes in on “Irresistible” creates a powerhouse introduction on what to expect is going to be big, and in Boston’s case it’s a transportation war.  Stump sings, “Too many war wounds and not enough wars, Too few rounds in the ring and not enough settled scores.”  As a city drowns in snow the day must go on even though it has been a constant struggle to get to work or home, but this city is full of fighters and as this thought rolls through my head “Immortal” begins to play.  Stump says “Sometimes the only payoff for having any faith, Is when it’s tested again and again everyday” and with this line I see an old women get pushed over at a shuttle stop.  As I helped her up it brought me to a realization that you can be someone’s superhero by having compassion and even for a moment you can be immortal.  As my shuttle commute came to an end “Favorite Record” began to play, and as the guitar came in it reminded me of dancing with my friends at home this past Christmas to old school hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll, which made my frustration subside for a moment.  The thought of a simple moment in time can make you laugh no matter how bad your day has been and bring you to a moment of peace.

Fall Out Boy, you showed me that music can bring you out of the dark, gave me a soundtrack that brought me back from the edge of this horrible transportation week, and are continuing to push the boundaries of your music through new technologies, power brass instruments, and lyrics that brought me back to a place of humanity. “You were the song stuck in my head.  Every song I’ver ever loved, played again and again.”

Click Here for American Beauty/ American Psycho!

Dancing in Boston

cropped-dancerlayback1.jpgDance is a very internal community.  The more people you know in the industry the easier it is to find job openings (artistic and administrative), best locations to take classes based on style, teaching opportunities to increase your revenue or experience as an artist, space rentals, or to see some great dance performances.  I have been living in Boston, Massachusetts for the last three years and even though I believe that if you are looking for a career as a dancer you are better off long-term in New York City or Los Angeles, Boston is a spring board for those not sure if you want to make the big leap to those intimidating cities.

There is a website called Boston Dance Alliance, which is a great starting point for any new dancer in the area, or someone trying to get more involved in the Boston dance community.  You can find any numerous opportunities from auditions and choreography gigs to fellowships, performance venues, and teaching prospects.  If you are looking for classes check out places such as the Dance Complex or Green Street Studios.  Both are in Cambridge, but are well worth the trip.  They have affordable classes that range from $9 to $15 depending on the instructor and a variety of dance styles to chose.  Unfortunately they do not take credit cards because you pay the instructor directly, but they do accept cash or check in most cases.  If you are a beginner, not a problem, they have beginner and advance classes in each style of dance and everyone who takes class is always supportive, friendly, and approachable.  If you are short on funds check out the work-study program the Dance Complex has for incoming students.  These positions are tough to come by and sometimes takes a few months till something becomes available, but hey what in life comes easy that is worth it?

If you are looking for more consistency in classes check out Urbanity Dance for hip-hop, contemporary, world dance, and Yoga.  Urbanity Dance is a prominent company with an epic director named Betsi Graves who has an extraordinary background commissioning work all over the country, winning choreographic awards, and was selected by Mia Michaels to tour on a full scholarship with LA Underground when she was only seventeen.  Graves company has been around for about six years and is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the Boston area.  She has brought more contemporary dance into the community by starting the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival two years ago, which has brought artists from Canada, New York, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island, and all over Massachusetts to present and mingle with other artists in the area.  Also, check out Urbanity Dance performances throughout the year.  Next performance in Boston is at the ICA in February through World Music/ CRASHArts.

You can’t go to class without looking like you should be there right?  In my opinion you don’t need to buy fancy leotards and warm ups as long as your clothes are comfortable, form-fitting, and you can move without feeling restricted.  I am sure every fourteen year old that I danced with which is literally half my age now (wow I’m old) would disagree with me.  So, for those of you willing to spend some money on dance clothes and/ or shoes check out Dancer’s Image (Newton, MA) or Back Bay Dancewear (Burlington, MA).  For those you looking for pointe shoes, both locations have pointe shoe specialists that can help you find the right shoe for your type of feet.  Not all pointe shoes are the same, but that is another story.

I literally spent my entire life in a dance studio growing up and I miss not dancing everyday, but at least I have the opportunity to dance when it fits into my schedule and not totally break the bank.  So the next time someone looks at you all weird and ask you why you dance just respond why do I breathe.