Live Review: Walk Off the Earth, Rock City (3/4/13)

The internet is a cruel place where fame can be found and lost in mere moments. Walk Off the Earth’s cover of ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ saw them shoot to viral fame, but could have left them high and dry just as quickly. Their momentum, however, hasn’t slowed and has led them on a European tour bringing them in front of a packed crowd in Nottingham’s Rock City.

Ever the performers, the set began with a theatrical build up of flashing lights and short clips of their signature songs mixed in with electronic sounds; the excitement in the crowd was palpable by the time the band moved onto the stage. The opener ‘R.E.V.O.’ worked off of this tension and created the feeling that this night was going to be something special. The set that followed did not disappoint, with covers of ‘Magic’ by B.o.B, ‘Some Nights’ by Fun. and surprisingly Rage Against the Machine’s ‘People of the Sun’ early in the set. This was mixed in with several of the band’s original songs from their new album ‘R.E.V.O.’, a highlight being ‘Speeches’ where they took the opportunity to get the crowd involved with the catchy chorus. Next came the moment that so many had been waiting for, the song which launched Walk Off the Earth’s career: the Gotye cover of ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ played on a single guitar by all five band members. What should have been a difficult and awkward number to reproduce night after night was performed seamlessly and the flood of cameras and mobile phones produced by the crowd to witness such a moment reflected this.

The set remained strong following this with more original tracks from the new album including their new single ‘Red Hands’, which were excellent displays of the band’s variety when it comes to vocals particularly. Having three lead vocalists gives this group a unique sound with each providing something different when they step up to the mic. Marshall’s rugged, expressive voice provides the base layer for many songs and, when combined with Sarah Blackwood’s smooth vocals, makes for highly listenable songs. And then there is Gianni Luminati whose range spans from hitting powerful high notes to fantastic rap segments in songs like ‘Sometimes’; there is truly no one out there who sounds quite like Walk Off The Earth.

The main set closed with ‘Gang of Rhythm’ and the hugely catchy ‘Summer Vibe’, the latter of which set the crowd alight with a confetti cannon, inflatable balls launched into the crowd and chants of “eh-o, eh-o, bop bop a-way-o” resonated throughout Rock City long after the band left the stage.

Following the band’s exit from the stage, many were left wondering what could possibly be left to play in the inevitable encore. This was answered when the dark stage was suddenly illuminated with a spotlight beaming down on none other than Beard Guy with arms folded staring out into the darkness. Needless to say the crowd erupted with excitement. The light was extinguished only for Beard Guy to appear on the opposite side of the stage. Once he was satisfied that the crowd was loud enough he beckoned the rest of the group to the stage with cigar box guitars and boomwhackers in hand to perform their cover of  Malvina Reynolds’ ‘Little Boxes’  and a unique version of Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’. The show was closed with a revamped version of ‘Broke’, one of the groups tracks from their 2007 album. While this led to quite a sombre end to the night none in attendance could say they were disappointed with what they saw and heard.

There is a great sense of excitement surrounding Walk Off the Earth, who have found considerable success in their home of Canada. They are not only an excellent example of the power of the internet to bring a band or artist into the spotlight, but they also show that when it seems that there is nothing new in music, music can surprise you and produce an exceptional band like Walk Off the Earth.

Will Marshall

…Will has been listening to The Money Suzuki – 99%…


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