With a listen of any Walk the Moon tune and a quick glance at the band’s lead singer, Nicholas Petricca, you can tell the dude emits a level of infectious creativity.
Amid a year-plus that has robbed so many artists of their creative outlets, Petricca has found ways to persevere. He lives solo in Los Angeles, where his home is equipped with a studio and a small backyard. He’s made the most of it, developing his skills as a producer and shaking his rump whenever he possibly could.
“I spent most of my 2020 dancing in front of my phone for the internet,” he tells New Times with a laugh. “And then I spent a lot of time making this album with the band.”
The album Petricca speaks of, Heights, was halfway complete going into the pandemic. The second half was completed by the band virtually, and the first single, “Can You Handle My Love??” was released in July. The full album, the band's fourth, is expected to drop by the end of the year.
“There is something about this new album, to me, that is reminiscent of the origins of Walk the Moon. There is something to the spirit of the album and the spirit of the new songs,” he says. “I’m excited to have a setlist that spans four records. It’s now quite a bit of music we have to combine and I’m excited to create that arc for our band.”
If “Can You Handle My Love??” is any indication of what’s to come, prepare for contagious pop-rock euphoria with a message of self-respect and love. It’s a stellar complement to Walk the Moon’s prior good-vibe anthems, including “Shut Up and Dance,” “Anna Sun,” and “One Foot.”
The Cincinnati-bred band will take its tunes on the road this fall as part of its Dream Plane Tour, which kicks off September 20 in St. Petersburg. First, however, Walk the Moon will headline Miami Beach Pride's Pop Stage on Sunday, September 19.
After a one-year hiatus, Miami Beach Pride is back and is shaping up to be as vibrant as ever. Pride kicks off on Friday, September 10, and the ten-day affair features art shows, performances, fundraisers, parties, and more, culminating in its festival and parade September18-19.
Walk the Moon is slated to hit the Lummus Park stage at approximately 10 p.m. on Sunday, September 19. Additional performers throughout the festival and parade weekend include Mexican icon Paulina Rubio, DJ Tracy Young, and dance-music icon Crystal Waters. (Check out the full slate of Miami Beach Pride events at miamibeachpride.com.)
For Petricca and many others, Pride events mean more than just a time to party.
“For a very long time — really from the beginning of Walk the Moon — we’ve been very outgoing about personal expression and about the importance and uniqueness of everyone,” Petricca says. “For me personally, Pride has always been such a safe space and such a place where I feel so encouraged and so welcomed to be everything that I am — to be fully expressed. There is something really resonant within the themes of Pride that feels like the heart of Walk the Moon.”
And for Petricca, Miami Beach Pride carries that much more power and meaning.
“Last June, I came out as bisexual,” he says. “This will be the first big Pride event that I get to play now that I’m out. That’s exciting for me to be fully embodied in that. I just love this holiday, this moment and, anytime I’ve been able to celebrate, it’s been pure joy. This certainly won’t be an exception.”
Walk the Moon at Miami Beach Pride. With Crystal Waters, Tracy Young, Guy Scheiman, and others. 11 a.m. Sunday, September 19, at Lummus Park, 1130 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; miamibeachpride.com. Admission is free.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.