Walk off the earth is a band that really should be a common household name. With their beginning starting back in 2006 in Burlington, Ontario, this 5 piece ska/reggae rock band is something to behold. There have been countless YouTube sensations to get their 15 minutes of fame. But that’s all it’s been, except for when it comes to Walk Off The Earth. If you were to go to their YouTube page and watch any one of their many videos, (covers included) you would understand exactly why. With their instruments ranging anywhere from piano, guitar, and bass. To the more uncommon instruments like the theremin, ukulele, glockenspiel, spoons, kazoo and even an electric toothbrush. Their sound is more than unique, it’s definitive. You know that you’re listening to something more original than you could possibly imagine. With the mix of sounds coming from common household items, you have to see their videos to know what they’re using to create these sounds.
With the upcoming release of their new studio album, Sing it All Away, (which is due out June 16th) Walk Off The Earth took to the open road for a 16 stop tour through the U.S. and Canada. With Boston being their second stop, Missing this show being held at the paradise rock club, just wasn’t an option. Even though everything around me seemed to want me to miss it. But by chance, bumping into Sarah Blackwood (who happens to be one of the sweetest people I’ve met in a long time) and explaining what my situation was I was able to get in without a hitch.
Now I’ve shot and reviewed shows that were held at this venue, it’s not one of the biggest places out there, or the most well lit, but it definitely holds it’s own being known as the old stomping grounds for bigger names like Aerosmith, U2, and Tom Petty. This very intimate venue was already packed to the aisles an hour before the sold out WOTE show was set to start.
Opening the show was Scott Helman. While everything was being sorted out, I was only able to catch the last few songs of his set. From what I did catch however, His sound is one that will keep the likes of Jason Mraz and Gavin DeGraw on their toes. More on the “pop” based side of things, He kept things more upbeat. Keeping the crowd moving and attentive. Scott made the very tough decision to skip heading out to college like most teens his age, and stay behind to make an album right out of high school. He’s currently promoting his debut release Augusta.
Once the lights dimmed after a brief break, the crowd exploded. Having only liked a few of their videos that were shown to me, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. I had been told that WOTE put on an amazingly entertaining show. But I wasn’t so sure how this was going to go… Boy was I in for a treat. Next were the trumpets and drums, leading into ‘Gang of Rhythm’. The overall flow of this band is beyond words. From the energy that pulsed from all of them as a group, to the sincerely genuine appreciation that each one of them obviously held for each and every ‘WOTEling’, young and old that was there. Each member of the band moved around the stage seamlessly, often swapping instruments without missing a single beat. An 8 month pregnant Sarah Blackwood was on vocals for songs like ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Shake it off’. Her voice is one that carries right through you. The petite vocalist was beyond humble. Expressing her gratitude for all of the fans in attendance in between each song. While also having the crowd sing along to the lyric ‘Sing It All Away’, but only that one specific lyric. Obviously to not only interact with the crowd, but also to build up the anticipation of seeing the song performed.
Then, goodbyes and thank yous were said, and the stage blacked out.
Of course they all filtered back out on to the stage after the WOTE chanting started, starting the encore with ‘Red Hands’ and then going right into ‘Picture’.
And then it happened, the 5 peeps 1 guitar medley. Where 5 out of the 9 plus members that were on stage all got behind a guitar, and played a mash up of songs including (but not limited to) ‘somebody that I used to know”, ‘Wrecking ball’, and ‘Call me maybe’. Again with the seamless movement of how well they all gelled together during this. Think about it, that’s 10 hands all on the fret board of one guitar. But you would never know it if you weren’t seeing it happen. Then all of a sudden there are close to a dozen giant red, blue, and green balls floating and bouncing all over the place. And the music flowed right into ‘Summervibe’, complete with signs that had the verse lyrics scrawled on them in black marker as well as a decent handful of fans from the crowd pulled up on stage.
In closing, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the show that I had just attended. With a phenomenal sound, and addictive stage presence WOTE makes sure you know what they’re all about, and they aren’t afraid to show it off. Even though they have released several songs off of their new album ‘Sing It All Away’, I know I have every intention of scooping up a copy on June 16th.