WALK OFF THE EARTH Review @ Bottom Lounge- Chicago, IL

WALK OFF THE EARTH @ Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL

May 19, 2015

Review by Dan Scheiman

Walk Off the Earth is a well-rounded Canadian alternative rock group that’s been snagging awards and making a name for themselves since 2006. It is difficult to put together a description of any given member as all of them are immensely talented, play 5 or more instruments, and sing on any given track. They gained some fame from the recognition of various covers done incredibly well with a bit of a unique twist. After seeing them live, I have realized this band will soon be holding the torch and leading the way at many of the biggest festivals around. Their overwhelming connectivity and unity on stage is unlike anything I have seen to date.
From the very beginning you could tell this crowd was ready for and expecting an intense show. I wasn’t too sure what was coming, but was pleasantly surprised with the raw energy and sincere enjoyment seeping out of every member from the very beginning of their performance. Being reasonably unfamiliar with this band walking into this show, I can say that my jaw had quite literally dropped more than once throughout the evening. The band moves around the stage with the fluidity of a school of fish while never losing the beat and keeping the general focus exactly where it needs to be.
With the ability to do nearly anything musically as a group, there was a strong roller coaster effect happening between the band and the fans. With such a versatile interest in music and a seamless ability to execute any given emotion, they appeared to have the fans in the palm of their hand. On more than one occasion they built up a groove to the point where the entire venue was chanting and singing along with every lyric while the band got as heavy as some of the big name metal bands, but only for an instant. Most of what these guys preferred to do appeared to be was to sing along with the crowd, swap instruments mid song, and spread the loving energy that they all know so well.
As soon as I got control of what the band was doing musically, it seemed to switch to a new vibe and often times a new instrument for any given member. It got to a point where I wasn’t sure who really played what. The audience got a taste of everything from a baritone, harmonica, trumpet, melodica, and even a ukulele, as different members pounded on drums that also exploded smoke out into the crowd. With the stage occasionally filling with nearly 14 people, it was impressive how well all the bandmates mingled with one another.
Nearing the end of the show the entire band crowded around one acoustic guitar. Each of them had their hand strategically placed to add something to the cover medley that was to come. Ranging from songs such as  Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” all the way to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” they showed off their versatility and their ability to really work together as a group.
I am intensely excited to see what this brilliant group of musicians have in store for us next. I’m sure there will be a small break when Sarah Blackwood gives birth to her child, which it is beyond impressive to see her touring and crushing shows every night while she is still pushing through pregnancy. With the crowd chanting along with every song, giant balloons being tossed around the crowd, and Walk Off the Earth being so in-tune with their fans, I had more fun at this show than I have in quite some time.

Photos by Nicci Allen

Dan Scheiman With an entirely open and unbiased obsession with music, Dan decided to take the opportunity given to him to share his thoughts for On Stage Review. Having been to hundreds of concerts of a variety of styles and genres over the years, he's no stranger to live music. He has been playing bass guitar for over twelve years now and has been dabbling in vocal work, drums, and piano for almost as long. Growing up listening to metal and industrial then transitioning into jazz and classical, and now having a particular love for funk or anything that grooves; his perspective comes from a well-rounded musical background and some amateur experience as a musician. He has too many favorite bands to list, but some of his favorite live experiences include: Sigur Ros, Porcupine Tree, Papadosio, Tool, The Ocean, Animals As Leaders, Lettuce, and of course, Victor Wooten.