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.’

Sales, Spotify, and Support – It’s All About the Music

To all the adults that grew up in the 90s – Remember your 12-year-old self when you sat next to your tape deck/ CD stereo, listening to the radio for hours trying to get the new Blink 182 or Backstreet Boys song recorded onto a blank tape, because your parents refused to buy you the new album?  Well kids, those days are long gone.

We can’t deny that gaining access to music has change since the technology age.  Search almost any artist and/ or song on YouTube and thousands of videos will come up with that particular title.  Over the last seven years society has been introduced to the access of free music from organizations such as Spotify (2008).  Spotify allows you to stream full albums, artists catalogs, and create playlists at no cost with advertisements thrown in between the music played.  There is also a Premium level on Spotify that allows the listener to have access to music without a wi-fi network as well as have a commercial free experience.  I am against any paid streaming services whether it is Spotify or Beats Music.  Maybe my mind will change as the services change with improvements and upgrades, but currently I look at as renting an apartment or leasing a car.  You don’t own the music, but you are paying to borrow it, which is crazy to me considering you could use that $10/month to buy an album.  The non-subscription Spotify is my go to streaming site when I can’t afford to buy a new album, want to hear the new billboard top 200 list for the week, or if a friend gives me a new band to hear.  Spotify brings music to the people who can’t afford it or are interested in finding new artists to follow.  It has brought accessibility to music from all over the world.  No matter what level an artist is at in their career or if the artist is in the United States or Australia, they can reach fans in every country.

Spotify has made music more accessible than ever before, but streaming in general has continued to decrease sales due to the fact that people have access to albums for free.  It’s like the old saying goes, “Why buy the cow, if you are going to give away the milk for free?”  Taylor Swift removed her catalog from Spotify and said in a Yahoo Interview, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music.  And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”  In my opinion, superstars such as Taylor Swift are not just artists, but brands and business entities.  Not only has her current album ‘1989’ sold over 1.2 million copies, she is the only artist to go Platinum in 2014, and she has 48.1 million twitter followers, but she has endorsement deals with companies such as Diet Coke and Target.  She has the power to call the shots and chose where she wants her music to be accessible.  Swift is a force to be reckoned with and I respect her as not only a strong woman, but as a person fighting for what she feels artists deserve and that is to pay for the creation of music.  Other artists like David Grohl (Foo Fighters) look at streaming platforms as a way to get more people to hear their music.  In a Rolling Stones Magazine interview he said, “I want people to hear our music. I don’t care if you pay $1 or fucking $20 for it; just listen to the fucking song.”

Over the last year I have come across some pretty epic bands listening to Spotify that I don’t think I would have even considered listing to before, such as Emily’s Army (now Swimmers), State Champs, Sleeping At Last, and The Griswolds.  After I listened to these amazing artists I not only bought their latest albums, but three out of the four I have either seen in concert in the last year or I will be in the next six months.  Those of you looking to find a side without experiencing both for yourself – don’t!  Spotify has helped me find new music, but has helped these artists gain a new fan as well as increased their album and tour sales.

This post is not in support for Spotify or buying albums, but a statement that both are great.  Streaming has taken the music industry to a new level, and with technology advancing, streaming will become the norm – so why not embrace it.  Spotify has given musicians another tool to reach new fans; and the more followers an artist can create, the more ticket sales, merchandise sales, and album sales will ensue.  How listeners gain access to music is changing and it is up to the artists and the record labels to create new ways to attract listeners to buy albums.  In Taylor Swift’s case, her team were geniuses with the ‘1989’ release.  The team created heavy marketing around the release with a Yahoo streaming event, 1989 private invite parties with Taylor Swift all over the United States and in the United Kingdom, a promotional tour, and finally a sweepstake to help increase sales for the first week by allowing every buyer of the album digital or physical the ability to enter a chance to win tickets and backstage passes to meet Swift at a future concert (the catch was this was only offered during the first week of the release).  David Grohl’s new album ‘Sonic Highways’ also had an eight episode HBO mini-series that connected with the album.  The series started about four weeks before the album was being release, which I bet was no concidence.  In music business, and sales in general, it is all about how the artists uses the tools they have to increase word of mouth and reach their fans on a new level that continues to surprise them as well as take the leap to financially support the artists the fans love.  So, continue to take those leaps and support an artist any way you can through twitting, Facebook comments, street teams, buying albums, and going shows, because without the fans an artist wouldn’t have the ability to do what they love.