Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 returned to The Piazza Jan. 26 for the much-anticipated third annual Winter Jam. This year’s concert featured performances from Tegan and Sara, Matt & Kim, Walk the Moon, Twenty One Pilots and June Divided. The free outdoor concert attracted thousands of music lovers from Philadelphia and beyond despite the freezing cold weather.
The show opened up with Philadelphia natives June Divided. I had heard of them, but I had never listened to their music. Boy, was I missing out. Not only did they keep the crowd going, but the vocals coming from lead singer Melissa Menago were intense. The band mostly performed songs off their newest album, “Backbone,” which was released back in July 2012. After this energetic opener, there was no way the crowd wasn’t ready to dance the day away.
Up next was the highly anticipated Twenty One Pilots, and they sure did not disappoint. The “Schizoid Pop” duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun kicked off their set with “Ode to Sleep” off their newly released album “Vessel,” which showed all sides of their music. It starts off with Joseph rapping and transitions seamlessly into a catchy verse. The crowd surrounding me was impressed and very eager to hear more from the duo. Not a woman in the crowd was complaining when Joseph and Dun took off their shirts to experience the cold weather with all of the concertgoers after their first song. As a Twenty One Pilots fan, I highly suggest you give “Vessel” a listen. It has a weird mixture of indie, pop, electronic and rap, but the duo pulls it off to create a truly interesting mixture.
It wasn’t until Walk the Moon walked on stage that I realized how many people were at Winter Jam. At this point the front of the crowd was packed like sardines, which made for an interesting time. The band performed several songs off its self-titled album, including radio hits “Tightrope” and “Anna Sun,” which left the entire crowd shouting the lyrics back at frontman Nicholas Petricca.
Walk the Moon also covered “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads, who I found out in an interview with drummer Sean Waugaman were a musical inspiration to the band. You can find their cover of this song on their new EP, “Tightrope,” released Jan. 22. Here’s a fun fact for you: The live recording on their EP was from when they came to Philly’s own Theatre of Living Arts last year!
The show continued with Matt & Kim. Normally performing as an indie-rock duo, Matt & Kim went disc jockey style for Winter Jam. Unfortunately, a week before Winter Jam, drummer Kim Schifino fell down a flight of stairs while texting and sprained her ankle. Although their set kept the crowd entertained and dancing, I’m afraid they gave people who have never heard of them the wrong idea about their style of music. Regardless, Matt & Kim still continued to impress me.
Finally came the moment concertgoers had been waiting for all day: Tegan and Sara. This indie-pop duo graced the crowd with new dancy pop tunes off their new album “Heartthrob.” My personal favorites off the record were “I Was a Fool” and “Now I’m All Messed Up.” This duo kept the crowd going until the very last minute of their set, when they closed it out with their radio hit “Closer.”
The broken toes, near frostbite and kicks in the face from crowd surfers were completely worth the amount of talent that graced the stage at Radio 104.5’s third annual Winter Jam. Free concerts are always great concerts, but Radio 104.5 definitely outdid itself this year. I’m very curious to see what lineup could possibly outdo this one for next year’s Winter Jam.