Instruments spattered in pastel pinks, blues, purples and yellows were strategically placed around the stage in front of a backdrop lit in droplet light bulbs and illuminated ukuleles. I turned around and saw big, colorful balloons that were waiting to be dropped onto the crowd. It was at that moment that I knew this was going to be a show that would be hard for me to photograph because I was going to want to dance the night away. That’s exactly what happened Sunday night at the Walk Off the Earth (WOTE) show at Bowery Ballroom.
Opening the show was Toronto native, Scott Helman – a Bieber look-a-like who was very personable and kept the crowd entertained as they eagerly awaited the main act. I personally liked his cover of Fulsam Prison Blues. This was his first time in New York City and he was obviously excited to be on tour.
“Every 19-year-old dreams of going on tour with good looking hippies,” he said about WOTE. He hit the nail on the head with that description of the band.
WOTE opened their set with a powerful drum circle, all of them cloaked in black hoods and pounding the drums together sending glitter flying in the air. It seemed like something out of a Blue Man Group show.
They opened up with “Gang of Rhythm,” Gianni Luminati strumming his guitar to a quiet and attentive audience. It’s one of their more subdued songs but that still has a great anthem dance beat to it, easing everyone into the amount of dancing they were about to do that night.
After that, they went into a cover of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, which they made their own by exploding on stage. They also covered “Material Girl” by Madonna, in which Sarah Blackwood definitely channeled the singer’s fierceness, as well as “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds, an unexpected cover but one that showcased the band’s knowledge of how to play multiple instruments.
The amount of instruments that were played that night was unlike anything I had seen from a band of their genre before. From what I saw, they played about 12 different instruments including: drums, guitars, a keyboard, ukuleles, a xylophone, a mandolin, a banjo, kazoos, tambourines, a cow bell, a tuba, shakers, and even plastic tubes.
The band’s energy was contagious. Blackwood, who is about 7 months pregnant, didn’t stop jumping all night and was very interactive with the crowd. They played a mixture of songs off their new album, Sing it All Away coming out in June, as well as many songs off their debut album R.E.V.O. My favorites of the night included “Speeches,” “Shake,” “Rule the World,” and their set ending song, and title track off their new album, “Sing it All Away.”
The second song during their encore was the cover that made them famous, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” with all 5 members playing one guitar, but they turned it into an amazing medley of covers including “Wrecking Ball,” “Rude,” and “Wake Me Up.” I cannot say enough how talented these people are.
Their beach anthem, “Summer Vibe” triggered the colorful balloons to drop and the concert ended in one big party. It’s not every day that I run to get a copy of the band’s CD after I cover a show, but this time I had to because of how much energy and inspiration their songs had. I knew I needed to have that in my life all the time.
Article: Merissa Blitz