Walden, a rapidly growing band based out of Athens, Georgia, performed a two-hour long alternative rock concert. The band consisted of four members, a drummer, pianist, lead singer/guitarist, and bassist. Walden played a mix of their recently released songs, older songs, and covers. The Walden concert was an interactive exploration into the intriguing world of alternative rock.
Walden is composed of four close childhood friends originally from Marietta, Georgia. They all currently seniors at the University of Georgia and have been making music together since high school. Walden’s set-list consisted of their 2016 collection of singles and their 2015 album, “Painting Planets”. Their musical style is characterized by prevalent drum beats, lengthy guitar chords, and strong vocals. Walden’s unique mix of rock and alternative sounds has contributed to their rapidly growing popularity.
The show opened with Walden’s 2016 original single “With You Gone”. The band proceeded to play a good number of songs from both of their albums. After a mixture of original songs works in process, and covers, the band closed with their most popular song “Green Light” from their album “Painting Planets”. Walden’s original songs stayed consistent in terms of genre, yet varied in terms of speed and tempo. Most songs were fast-paced with a steady build to a climax, while a good number of songs were slow and soft. Vocals were present in every single song, yet some numbers emphasized the guitar, while others emphasized piano, and still other emphasized both piano and guitar.
I noticed that the band’s most popular songs, “Fools Gold” and “Green Light” both had very similar musical structures. Both songs begin slowly and softly, with a repetitive prevalent drum beat. The songs are characterized by a subtle and steady build up throughout the piece. The build ups in both songs consist of increased intensity in vocals, piano, guitar, and background melodies.
Walden is new to the mainstream music scene, therefore the crowd was small. The small crowd size allowed for increased audience participation and involvement. At one point, all four band members carried a drum into the center of the audience and proceeded to perform a drum-line as the crowd gathered around to watch. The four members began to perform an original drum beat in the midst of the crowd. Each band member had their own unique beat, yet the four unique beats blended together to form one cohesive drum tune. The beat was performed in sync and left the audience in awe. I was impressed by the cohesiveness and professionalism of the band, and the versatility of their performance. After the drum quartet, the band returned to their original positions on the stage and asked the audience for requests.
The band listened to the audience requests and played Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”. These songs hail from completely different time periods and genres. Walden was able to capture the essence of both Nina Simone’s smooth jazzy blues feel and Foster the People’s classic rock pop style while adding their own alternative rock twist to each cover. I found this to be very impressive. The audience engagement level rose as the audience swayed and sang along to each song.
Although the crowd was small, the crowd was very engaged. Not a single person left the concert, and the crowd grew throughout the performance. During the performance of “Fools Gold”, the band encouraged the audience to sing a series of notes loudly along with the band. The audience became increasingly invested in their part of the song and audience engagement and interest continued to increase. By the end of the show, couples were dancing right next to the stage and younger groups of people loyally sang along with Walden’s original lyrics. The intimate atmosphere of the performance venue paired with the high interaction between audience and performer created a unique musical experience.
I entered the concert completely unsure of what was to come. I left a few hours later enlightened and inspired by their original sound and consistent intensity.
I was intrigued, inspired, and impressed at the degree of genuine interaction between Walden and the audience. The authentic communication between the performer and audience created a magical accessibility, that left me in awe.
I would definitely check out Walden on Spotify. If you like Mumford and Sons or Moon Taxi, Walden is your next big obsession. Take a listen, you won’t be sorry.