Walk Off the Earth at the Paradise

When a band admits that you’re the first Boston crowd that they’ve played to, it makes you feel special.  In what seemed like an all-out effort to make a good impression, The Mowgli’s kicked off the night with an incredibly energetic six-song set.  One of two opening bands for Walk Off the Earth, The Mowgli’s set the mood with blaring trumpets and charismatic tambourines while working the ever shifting and blazing lights of the Paradise Rock Club to their advantage. The chemistry between these eight talented musicians from Los Angeles permeated the room, so much so that by the last song, “San Francisco”, the entire audience was singing along to the refrain “I’m in love with love” and accepting the pounding of the bass into their very chests.

Next up was another opening act, Julia Nunes. Nunes has been known to participate in a few of Walk Off the Earth’s YouTube videos, like their cover of fun.’s “Some Nights”.

Here, Nunes opened with her original song “Comatose”, which featured a voice as large as her personality. A voice so full, it begged the question: “What it would be like if Nunes was to enter a sing-off with the likes of Adele?” But she’s not defined by just her voice and trademark ukulele – she has some stellar beat boxing abilities as well, something that had the audience cheering and asking for more. There was an immediate and unanimous feeling of affection for Julia, who was humorous and open during her time on stage.

“Now’s the time to warn you that I’m gonna be real sweaty but I’m going to want hugs later,” she told the audience, “We can take pictures and hang out and snuggle and stuff.” Eventually the audience had to say good-bye to Julia, who got a very heartfelt round of applause and cheering.

After a few minutes the lights went completely down, until there was simply a pulsing, blue glow left above the stage. Each band member wore a black hoodie and took a stance as drummer Joel Cassady laid down a steady, heart-pounding beat. In the center of the stage sat a tom drum, where lead singers, Sarah Blackwell and Gianni Luminati, began pounding on it with clear drum sticks and spraying sheets of water off of the top. This mesmerized the audience while they whipped the rest of the band into a frenzied rhythm, which built up to the first song, “Revolutions in My Head”, in which the band exhibited a significant amount of synchronized dancing and head banging. It may have been at this point that the audience realized what exactly they were in for. If it didn’t hit them then, they definitely knew by the time the confetti came pouring down from the ceiling that these guys aren’t just singers: they’re performers.

The second song of the night was a medley of pop hits, a few of which Walk Off the Earth have covered on their popular YouTube channel that boasts over 778,000 subscribers. A few examples that appeared that night included “Eleanor Rigby”, a ska version of the Gregory Brothers’ “Backin’ Up”, and Rihanna’s “Man Down”.

The last song of the set was their original “Summer Vibe” which was an incredible feel-good song to finish off with. To keep up with their quirky, enthusiastic “vibe”, massive balloons were launched from the balcony for the audience to play with. About half way through the number, all opening act members were welcomed back on the stage, which ignited more cheering and clapping. Everyone on stage was all smiles as they sang the background vocals, and passed around signs amongst themselves that read “Eh-o” on one side and then “Summer Vibe” on the other, prompting the audience to join in a huge sing along.  As the song ended, the audience clapped and cheered, as anyone would at the end of an amazing performance.

But as the band left the stage, there were murmurs. It was indecipherable at first, then as more people joined in it became clear: everyone was singing the “Summer Vibe” background vocals, growing louder and louder, encouraging the band to come out for an encore. This continued until the entire venue was filled with one solid conglomerate of voices, which drew the band out for another mini-set. First was their cover of Malvina Reynolds’ “Little Boxes”, which showcased Gianni Luminati’s performance on his “box guitar” – a guitar crafted out of a cigar box, which plays well and may have even fit this number better than a Fender or a Gibson.

Next was the cover song that Walk Off the Earth may attribute some of their success to: “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye. Their version, which now has over 137,000,000 views on YouTube, features the five members of Walk Off the Earth performing the song all on the same guitar simultaneously with each person assigned a different section of the instrument to play. After this incredible amount of visibility, Walk Off the Earth was invited to play on the Ellen Degeneres show in January of this year. From there, things have not slowed down: Walk Off the Earth have recently signed with Columbia Records and are now releasing their new E.P., R.E.V.O., on October 30th.

If the band ever gets tired of working or even playing and dancing nonstop at a show, it was not apparent here. Even during their very last number of the entire night, “Broke”, band members were throwing a trumpet to one another while Sarah Blackwood danced ecstatically around the stage with a tambourine. More confetti poured down from the ceiling, and as the band raised the vocals an octave and drove up the tempo, they entered an unbelievable instrumental outro that shook each and every audience member’s body to the very core.

By Madelyn Reese

If you liked this, check out:
Father John Misty at the Paradise
Cat Power at the House of Blues

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