Live Review: Walk The Moon + The Griswolds – Forum Theatre, Melbourne (25.01.16)

If the first thing you hear when you walk into a venue is Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman”, chances are you’re in for a pretty good time. That’s exactly what happened when Walk The Moon, supported by The Griswolds, hit Melbourne’s Forum Theatre for a night of dancing, bright lights, and genuinely good music.

Taking to the stage at 8pm were The Griswolds, a four-piece Sydney outfit who, with a drummer dressed as a referee, did a fantastic job of getting the early crowd onside. The alt-rock group had been there before, and the experience showed in the way they hyped the crowd up by comparing Melbourne fans to Sydney fans (can’t blame them, it works every time). Included in their set was a brilliant cover of Vance Joy’s “Riptide”, which I would not hesitate to say is better than the original, if only for the fantastic vibe it brought to the venue. In all, The Griswolds were excellent and they won a fan in myself and I’m sure, many others, if the genuine applause at the end of their set was anything to go by.

Entering to “Circle of Life” from The Lion King shortly after 9pm was Walk The Moon, Ohio natives who over the past year have rocketed in popularity thanks to their absurdly catchy hit, “Shut Up and Dance”. Opening up with 2012’s “Jenny”, it was clear that the night was going to be one big dance party. Although the back half of the venue had been curtained off there was still more than enough space for fans to get their boogie on and plenty did, including during a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” which, while unexpected, certainly did the original justice.

Although dance rock is Walk The Moon’s main flavour, “Up 2 You” from their latest full length release Talking Is Hard provided a seriously intense alt-prog hit that for me was a highlight of the night, showing that the group is much more than a one-trick pony. Mixing throughout the night was good for the most part, with clear priority given to the bass and drums due to the rhythm-heavy nature of most tracks.

It’s a credit to both The Griswolds and Walk The Moon that I cannot think of anything negative to say about the night. Everywhere I looked there were people smiling, dancing, and most importantly just having a good time thanks to some seriously well performed music. Crowd interaction was frequent without being annoying (featuring plenty of “Happy Australia Day”s), there were no mistakes throughout the performance that I could discern, and I have to admit that I will certainly be buying a ticket the next time either of these young bands are in town.

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