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What's Next For Walk The Moon?

If you're in a band whose infectious pop/rock anthem about letting go and having fun takes over the world, breaking Billboard chart records and becoming your biggest song to date, how do you follow that? That's the question Walk The Moon bandmates didn't realize they were facing after the release of "Shut Up and Dance" -- until people asked it of them over, and over, and over.

"Even though it may be what people know us for, ['Shut Up and Dance'] is not really the center of the Walk The Moon spectrum, you know?" guitarist Eli Maiman offers. "I think we actually have a tradition of being a little more introspective -- like 'Iscariot' off the first record, or 'Aquaman' off the second record -- we're not necessarily the party band that people may portray us to be. So fighting against that pigeon holing has been an ongoing battle for us. Even 'Anna Sun' has a lot of very sentimental, nostalgic feeling to it, even though it's painted into this kind of very bright picture. That's kind of where we live -- we want to make you dance, and we want to make you cry at the same time."

There won't likely be much crying as Walk The Moon takes the stage July 8 at the Walmart AMP in Rogers with fellow rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars, but Maiman does reveal the group's new album and third release, "What If Nothing," has the widest stylistic variety of their work to date. Following the tough decision to cancel their 2016 tour due to a family illness, when Walk The Moon returned to the studio, they were up against the expectations created by "Shut Up and Dance" as well as overcoming that time away.

"We felt like trying to replicate that was not artistically where we wanted to go and didn't have a lot of possibilities," Maiman says. "So ultimately what we decided to do was just not question our instincts and follow the inspiration and not really worry if it sounds like 'Walk The Moon.' That's what felt the best for us is all the feelings kind of erupting up and not a trying to taper them down into a single, easily digestible, stylistic persona."

FAQ

Thirty Seconds to Mars

'The Monolith Tour'

with Walk the Moon, K. Flay & Welshly Arms

WHEN -- 6 p.m. July 8

WHERE -- Walmart AMP in Rogers

COST -- $29.50-$104.50

INFO -- 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org/AMP


Old Dominion Back With Old Friends

Members of country music five-piece Old Dominion are living like there's "No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" as they "Snapback" to the AMP on July 12 with singer Kenny Chesney -- a relationship more than "Written in the Sand." Chesney's coming "Trip Around the Sun Tour" will be his third visit to the AMP, as well as Old Dominion's third time supporting the country icon.

"It feels like a family reunion at this point. That's not one you turn down," Old Dominion lead singer Matthew Ramsey says of being invited back. "It is a lot of hard [work] to make it seem like a big party, but it is a lot of fun. And [we're learning] a lot from [Kenny] -- how he builds his setlist, how he connects with his fans, how he builds his team of people around him. You can see a benefit to surrounding yourself with the best."

Though they've churned out a string of their own hit singles from their first two well-received albums, Old Dominion's catchy writing and "different attitude on the radio" are recognizable to country fans even in the tunes they've written for other artists. (They've got writing credits on songs recorded by heavy-hitters like Chesney, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt and a slew of others.) Ramsey says as a band of songwriters, it makes sense that their chemistry translates in their writing.

"We're always writing new stuff and excited about what's next," he shares. "Sometimes with a song we'll go, 'OK, this definitely suits Kenny better or Luke better, let's just send it to them.' And if they don't like it, we'll still have it. And then there are some where we're like, 'Do not play this for anyone!'"

There will always be another song, Ramsey says, but sometimes another artist turning down a pitch works out in Old Dominion's favor -- like when Chesney told the group, "'No Such Thing as a Broken Heart' is a great song, but you guys should record it." The motivational tune became the lead single off their sophomore album "Happy Endings" and gave Ramsey a new perspective.

"'Broken Heart' [came] out of our conversation with each other, and we wrote this really personal song, but it was very danceable," he reveals. "And then you realize when you put it out there that it actually is powerful and is helping people. And then you're in a room with 6,000 people singing the same line that you wrote -- it's a pretty powerful thing, and it completely changes that song. It's not my song anymore; it's everyone's song.

"It also allows you to open up and be a little more honest in your songwriting, and realize that you can be personal and it's probably going to translate to a larger crowd because what you're feeling is probably what other people are feeling," Ramsey concludes. "It's kind of a spiritual thing."

FAQ

Kenny Chesney

'Trip Around the Sun Tour'

with Old Dominion

WHEN -- 7:30 p.m. July 12

WHERE -- Walmart AMP in Rogers

COST -- $50 & up

INFO -- 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org/AMP


Straight Up Janet

As Janet Jackson's stylist for going on 13 years, Robert Behar admits people may be surprised to learn it's not as glamorous a job as they might think. Not the working with an icon part -- Behar can't say enough about what a wonderful person Jackson is.

"She's the greatest person to work with. She's kind, she's understanding. She knows everything that's going on -- how to solve problems, problems that don't even exist yet. It's a family-dynamic -- without fighting with your sister!" he jokes. "But I love it. And I'm super blessed. There's such a great mutual respect. And she isn't difficult for the eyes, either! It's easy to design clothes and style such a beautiful lady."

No, the less than glamorous side of designing the costumes for and styling a massive North American tour for a music legend comes in the long travel days -- often beginning around 6 a.m. for wardrobe -- the cleaning and maintenance, the quick change details and understanding the amount of collaboration with a full team of people that goes into the job.

"It's not a red carpet story," Behar shares.

But Janet Jackson, with her "fashion-oriented" mind and "exquisite eye for detail" is incredibly hands on from start to finish, keeping the process fun as well as keeping Behar on his toes.

"She's always very surprising. It makes the job never boring. Like, I can't go and say, 'Oh, she won't want that.' It's like the first time every time."

And that includes the wardrobe for Jackson's "State of the World Tour," now in its second leg as she stops July 13 at the Walmart AMP. After determining the direction for the costumes and the styling using a mood board, Behar and the designers bring the creations to life and make them danceable, Jackson offers necessary changes, and the wardrobe falls into place as part of the whole cohesive machine that is a Janet Jackson concert experience.

"It's more approachable, more real, ultra-modern. It's just straight up Janet," Behar offers proudly.

FAQ

Janet Jackson

'State of the World Tour'

WHEN -- 8 p.m. July 13

WHERE -- Walmart AMP in Rogers

COST -- $35-$129.50

INFO -- 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org/AMP

Courtesy photos Indie rockers Walk The Moon will open for Thirty Seconds to Mars July 8 at the AMP.

Old Dominion returns to Rogers with pal Kenny Chesney on their third outing with the country star and second time at the AMP.

NAN What's Up on 07/08/2018

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