By: Derek Jung
Let's get one thing straight here before I even begin this review. Going into the show, I had very little experience with DeLong's music. I had heard his singles, specifically "Long Way Down" and "Global Concepts", but beyond that, I had no idea what to expect; I had no idea if it would be just him, if he'd have a band, or if he'd just be a DJ. In the end, I think I got exactly what I was hoping it'd be.
Robert DeLong is a multi-instrumentalist, but his instruments can be a little unorthodox. During the course of his set he played guitar, drums, keys, and synths. He also used a joystick, a Wii remote, and a steering wheel (among others) plugged into a giant MIDI interface to create his unique sound all the while singing and dancing around the stage. I particularly enjoyed the way he waved his Wii remote all over to distort his vocals. DeLong is definitely a master of his own equipment. He deftly moved from one knob to the next, hitting different drum pads, and using two microphones to sing in, one normal and another with a faded echo effect.
This was a super heavy bass set, exactly what you'd expect from a club atmosphere where everyone's on the dance floor, but my eyes were constantly on DeLong: watching what he was doing, which equipment he was fiddling with, and memorizing background visuals reacting to every twist and turn. Speaking of the visuals, they were something special. Starting from an opening sequence of Seal singing "Kiss From a Rose" live with things like marijuana leaves superimposed in his hands, to Mario and other video game references, there was something new for each song, and usually it was usually triggered by DeLong's playing. On "Long Way Down", the words "ON", "THE", "LONG WAY", and "DOWN" were projected on the screen along with the female vocal part when Delong pressed certain buttons on a board. Some of the coolest parts of his set were started by some element of drumming, and it makes sense because of DeLong's history as a drummer. He had a full drum set (right side of the picture), and a partial set (left side) that he used from time to time, including for a pretty great drum solo on the full set at the end of his set. I really enjoyed how fresh he kept the set, never falling into a rut and always keeping things up tempo and engaging.
DeLong brought out opener Coleman Hell for a song, and the three manned the partial drum set. Coleman Hell had a decent opening set. He doesn't have a lot of material now, and I was disappointed that he didn't have a live banjo for his hit single, but all in all he was a likable, passable opener. As for DeLong, I'd definitely see him again, not because I'm the biggest fan of his music, but because he put on an enjoyable show.
Check out a live version of "Long Way Down" for earlier this year.
By: Joseph Kathmann
Now on their second album, Indie synth-pop band CHVRCHES have been tearing up venues for a couple of years now. I was able to see the band at one such show at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, which happened to be one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen. The reason for the memorability, however, was not because of the band, but because of the weather. See LC Pavilion is an outdoor venue, and about two minutes into their set, it started raining. Hard. Not just raining, but an extremely severe storm hit us head on in the middle of that set. For whatever reason, the venue let the show play on, and seeing 1,500 people get over the fact that there's lightning and thunder every other second by falling in love with this band is an experience I won't soon forget. (At one point the thunder was so close it was louder than the band.) So, I was looking forward to seeing them again, and even though it was raining pretty good outside, the venue just had to be indoors. But I got over it.
Before I talk about the headliner, though, I have to compliment the opener. While they have a name that is very difficult to remember (and pronounce), opener Masionair was outstanding. Even though they will never be a mainstream success, I do believe they will garner at least a small cult following as time goes on. No one knew who this band was, but by the end of their unfortunately brief 30-minute set, most of the crowd was jamming out to their rather unique sound. This band reminded me a lot of The Antlers, delivering some very epic-feeling synth groves in the 5 or so songs they played. This is a band I hope sticks together for a while, because when they are in Nashville again I hope to see them, and hopefully for longer than a 30 minute set. This was my biggest complaint of the night. Masionair was clearly frustrated that they were only allowed to play for 30 minutes, and they made it clear that this decision was made by someone other than themselves. But then we sat there for 45 minutes waiting for CHVRCHES to go on. I've been a stagehand in the past. I know it does not take that long for any band to get ready for their set. There's no reason Masionair couldn't get a 40-45 minute set. But I digress.
So, after the uncomfortably long holdover, CHVRCHES took the stage. Accompanied by a very cool light show, entrancing frontwoman Lauren Mayberry & company took the crowd on an eventful journey spanning a 17 song set. While last time I was too focused on the music to realize it, I quickly realized that CHVRCHES is held up by Mayberry, and pretty much nothing else. Fellow bandmembers Iain Cook and Martin Doherty very much take a backseat on stage to the energy and vigor of Mayberry. But that's ok. She is more than capable of holding this band up and delivering the intensity you would expect a frontman to have.
Now you may have noticed that I haven't talked about the venue yet. Well that's because there isn't much to talk about. This venue, for better or for worse, feels like a very ordinary music venue. Though I will say their sound system more than handled the band's synthesizers, which is more than can be said for most. Anyway, the highlight of the night undoubtedly came in the form of an unexpected cameo from Paramore's Hayley Williams. This led to a very cool moment for the audience. After all it's not every day you get to see two of the most iconic frontwomen in the industry on stage at the same time. Sadly, Williams only joined the band for one song, a duet of "Bury It." And just like that, she danced off the stage and was gone.
But then the highest point of the show was inevitably followed by the lowest point of the show, as the band just had to bring bandmate Martin Doherty out into the limelight to perform one of the two songs he's recorded for the band on their two albums. Nowhere was the need for Mayberry more prevalent than during "Under the Tide." Doherty was....ok, but he just lacks the enduring charisma Mayberry brings to the set. Doherty just kind of ran around like a chicken with his head cut off with his extremely stereotypical male voice. That's the other thing. I've brought it up before in the review of Every Open Eye, but this band's greatest strength is using Mayberry's voice as an instrument. Take that away, and you've got an incredibly stereotypical synth-pop band. Fortunately, though, Doherty only performed one of his two songs, (the one off the first album instead of the second, for some reason) and Mayberry quickly took the stage again. They saved my current favorite song by them, "Clearest Blue," for the end of their pre-encore set, but I really wish they had closed with that song. For the encore the band came on and performed two songs, "Afterglow," which really should've been in the middle of the set somewhere, and one of their big hits "The Mother We Share." This song really should've ended the main set because "Clearest Blue" is definitely a set-ending song. You simply cannot follow that up, and the crowd was craving more when they came out on stage and performed the slow and mellow "Afterglow." But you can't have everything, right?
In conclusion, while CHVRCHES failed to deliver as memorable a set as they did the first time around, I didn't really expect them too. What I got was a refined set from one of the best indie synth-pop bands out there right now, and I even got a cameo from a long since established star. I won't complain about that for one second.
1) Never Ending Circles
2) We Sink
3) Keep You On My Side
5) Make Them Gold
6) Empty Threat
8) Playing Dead
11) Bury It (w/ Hayley Williams)
12) Under the Tide
14) Leave a Trace
15) Clearest Blue
17) The Mother We Share
By: Joseph Kathmann
I freaking love Walk the Moon. I'll keep it simple: this concert was everything I hoped it would be, and a whole lot more. Now there are a couple of things to talk about here. First and foremost, the venue. I was fortunate enough to see this Cincinnati-based band in the premier venue of the city of Nashville, The Ryman Auditorium. This venue has some of the best acoustics in the world, (the tour of the venue likes to brag that their acoustics are second only to the Mormon Tabernacle) and while the sound system couldn't really handle Walk the Moon's booming synthesizers and drums, it was still one heck of a live listening experience.
So let's talk about the venue. The Ryman Auditorium has a long history in Nashville. It is a historical landmark, and definitely worth touring whenever you may find yourself in Music City. Fortunately, Walk the Moon recognized this history as soon as they were on stage. The venue is incredibly well-run, and there were absolutely no complications with the show on the venue's end whatsoever. As I said, the sound system couldn't really handle Walk the Moon, but I wasn't really expecting it to. This was the cathedral of Country music, after all. Even though MAN the fact that I could easily hear that the sound system couldn't handle the band was AWESOME. I mean I obviously can't agree with the grand statement these guys make on the tour in calling it the second-best acoustics in the world, but I can definitely say these were the best acoustics in a venue I've ever heard. Easily. I was even fortunate to be sitting right where everyone says you have to sit. Middle section of the balcony, for anyone who's curious. So how was the show?
Well, simply put, everything I hoped it would be. Unlike my colleague, Derek, this was my first time seeing Walk the Moon. I've been in love with this band since way back in the Tightrope EP days, so to say I had high hopes for this show would be something of an understatement. Well, Walk the Moon did not disappoint. After a somewhat lackluster (or rather, very disorganized) opener, HOLYCHILD, Walk the Moon hit the stage and TORE through a 16 song set, featuring several hits from their namesake debut album, as well as several deep cuts from their current album, Talking is Hard. But I was most impressed with the audience. Before the show, I was worried that Walk the Moon had become too big for their own good. I was worried that the audience was there just to hear "Shut Up and Dance," and was just going to sit there and only kinda sorta pay attention to the rest of the set. Fortunately, I was wrong. Very wrong. While many in the audience started out just sitting there and not really engaging, by about the 4th or 5th song everyone was completely engaged with Walk the Moon. Thanks to the band's ferocious intensity, they may have entered that day with a lot of fans looking for one hit, but everyone left a diehard Walk the Moon fan. Kudos to not only the band for playing with as much intensity as they did, but also the crowd for allowing themselves to be sucked into the show.
Walk the Moon and their live show is definitely a show I would strongly recommend to anyone. Rarely does an entire band look like they are having an absolute blast on stage. Most of the time a band is focusing on different aspects of their show, or playing with so much intensity that they forget to just have fun. Walk the Moon puts having fun at the forefront of their show, and the intensity I'm accustomed to seeing from a typical live show comes after that. Combine this with the legendary Ryman Auditorium, and it makes for, simply put, one of the best live shows I have ever seen. Well done, Walk the Moon.
Walk the Moon Setlist
Circle of Life Intro (Elton John cover)
4) Different Colors
6) Down in the Dumps
7) Come Under the Covers
8) Up 2 U
9) Work This Body
12) Lisa Baby
13) I Can Lift A Car
14) Shut Up and Dance
15) We Are the Kids
16) Anna Sun
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: