Walk off the Earth
Lizzy Schroff | Sunday, January 20, 2013
On Friday, Walk off the Earth came to Legends of Notre Dame to play a high-energy concert for a packed house. The show began with a short opening act by local guitarist and singer Steve Asiala. He came out armed solely with his acoustic guitar to play a five-song set.
He played several crowd favorites including George Michael’s “Faith,” Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and Hanson’s “Mmmbop.” He also showcased a couple of his original songs to which the crowd responded with enthusiasm. He actively engaged the crowd with witty and funny banter between songs, garnering plenty of laughs.
After some more set up time (there was an incredible amount of instruments on stage), Walk off the Earth came on stage donning black hoodies. The intro to their opening song, “Revolutions in My Head,” began with a heart-pumping drum solo by Joel Cassady, flashing lights and building guitar riff. All of the band members belted out the lyrics and continuously jumped up and down, making for an exciting show opening.
“Don’t be shy, we want to see you move around,” band member Sarah Blackwood exclaimed, leading right into “Magic” and “Corner of Queen.” During the songs, the band handed off instruments among each other, switching off electric guitars, bass guitars, ukuleles and a number of quirky percussion instruments. They kept making use of the confetti by entertainingly kicking confetti-laden cymbals on the edge of the stage.
Next up was a string of songs from their new record, “R.E.V.O.” “Red Hands” amped up the crowd and everyone was singing and clapping during the catchy chorus line. “Love Sponge” was introduced by a “tiny guitar battle” between Blackwood and Gianni Luminati – mandolin vs. ukulele. The song had a reggae feel in which the ukulele and bongos were prominently featured. One of my favorites of the night, “Speeches,” followed right after, highlighted by a passionately sung chorus, trumpets and fast tempo.
Blackwood premised the next song, “Julie,” by saying, “We’re going to play a dancing number now. We like the singers here, but we also like the dancers.” Singer and guitarist Ryan Marshall made an impressive guitar switch halfway through, swapping his electric guitar for an acoustic.
“100 Proof Life”, characterized by a beachy rock feel and upbeat rumba instrumental section, followed. One of the most unique instrumental parts of the show came during “These Times.” Luminati had a self-proclaimed “rock out moment” by playing on Marshall’s electric guitar strings with drumsticks and the two followed with a duo by playing on the same guitar.
Another crowd favorite, “Gang of Rhythm,” came next with guitars being flung across the stage, and the lyrically questionable “Dirty Picture.” Other highlights of the night were a rocking and harmonious cover of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and a cover of fun.’s “Some Nights,” which had everyone in the audience belting the lyrics (including two of the band members who raised their Foster’s beers on high for the occasion).
“Backing Up” (about “an old lady and her love of coffee,” declared Luminati) was a definite crowd pleaser with an interpretive dance portion complete with butt slapping and members of the band jumping up and down interchangeably in a “black hoodie” and a “white hoodie.”
The band concluded their regular set by leading into “Summer Vibe” with a soulful keyboard solo by Mike Taylor and highlighting the number with a sea of balloons and audience cue cards with the lyrics “Eh-oh, bob bop away-o.”
Walk off the Earth didn’t disappoint the audience’s cries for an encore, playing four songs in response. They began with “Little Boxes” (complete with cigar box guitar) before performing their legendary five-people, one-guitar version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Everyone cheered enthusiastically during “Beard Man’s” solo on the headstock strings, but he kept his famous serious facial expression through it all.
The band then engaged the crowd for a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” as it was drummer Cassady’s 24th, and Luminati emphatically poured a can of beer on Cassady’s head on the song’s last note. They concluded the night with “Man Down” and “Broke,” ending with a blast of confetti, flashing lights and sirens.
All in all, the show was electric and thrilling. The band’s diversity – from Luminati’s rapping lyrics to the members’ incredible multi-instrumentalist abilities to the use of lights, confetti cannons and quirky moves – made the performance a definite success.