Concert Review: Walk Off The Earth @ The Fillmore Silver Spring (5/29/19)

Walk Off the Earth
Walk Off The Earth (Photo from FB @walkofftheearth)

Walk Off The Earth wants to entertain you.

Whether you’re a kid (and there were many at their show on May 29th) or an adult looking for a chance to smile and dance, the indie pop and rock band knows how to put on an effusive musical show.

The fairly robust crowd at The Fillmore Silver Spring, of every age, first got a taste of the vibe in a silly live video feed where the band pretended to be at the wrong venue (Dewey Beach) and had to embark on an epic, fast-paced car race to get to us on time. Much like their set of 19 songs, which went full tilt with a chaotic blend of original songs and covers. Two of the ‘song’ sequences were fast transitioning covers, spanning decades and genres with the glee and verve of a group of musicians that truly enjoy performing. The band’s energy was off the charts.

A typical move was to throw a guitar across stage to the stage hands, as they switched to a different guitar or instrument. I was waiting for a crashing guitar or mishap, but everything hummed along smoothly. Everyone sang or played a variety of instruments, and the stage was a whirlwind of motion and lights.

But Walk Off The Earth is not without tragedy, one of their own passed away in late December. Mike Taylor was known as the ‘Beard Guy’, and the band’s new single is dedicated to him, “Mike’s Song”, a ballad of remembrance. Later they did an epic cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, playing a tribute video to Mike in the background, focusing on the times Mike had played his favorite cover.

They kicked off the evening with the appropriately titled “Fire In My Soul” and a couple songs later played their first cover in “Yeah Ya!” by Outkast, much to the delight of the audience.

This was the fourth time they’ve played at The Fillmore, and the crowd knew them well, as fathers and mothers brought their children in droves. One cover that elicited cheers was Wheetus’ “Teenage Dirtbag”, before they moved into a medley of quick changing cover songs, beginning with their famous rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and throwing in a favorite of mine, the epic “Come On Eileen”.

Walk Off The Earth, from Ontario, Canada, have six albums and a number of EPs to their credit, since the band started in 2006. The rest of the main band is Gianni Nicassio, Ryan Marshall, Joel Cassady and Sarah Blackwood, plus a couple other band members on the tour.

Lest I give the impression that covers are all they do, they also performed 12 of their own original songs, like “Taekwondo” which brought out another silly video feed to the backstage where one member hid out to gorge on a tray of fan-baked brownies, while others went back to rescue him, giving Sarah the chance to sing some of the verses solo. Then they all came back, satiated from brownies, to finish with great flourish.

Later, their biggest hit “Red Hands”, got the crowd dancing with renewed vigor, and The Fillmore turned into a red sea of lights and epic choruses about loaded guns, and not being an instigator. At least for the purposes of this show, they were the instigator. This, and the Gotye cover, were the songs I remember well when I first saw them live at Firefly Music Festival in 2014.

For the encore they played three songs, including “Gang of Rhythm” and then finished with “Rule the World”, appropriate as they likely reached that plateau (at least Silver Spring for a night).

Setlist
Fire In My Soul
Fifth Avenue
Corner of Queen
Yeah Ya! (Outkast cover)
Alright
Teenage Dirtbag (Wheetus cover)
Somebody That I Used to Know / Stand by Me / Come on Eileen / Wouldn’t It Be Nice / Shape of You / No Scrubs / No Diggity / Closer, etc.
Taekwondo
Rise (Jonas Blue cover) (with Gabriela B)
Mike’s Song
Home We’ll Go
Girls Like You (Maroon 5 cover)
Red Hands
No Brainer / In My Feelings / Irreplaceable / Party in the U.S.A. / Roar / Rich Girl / Hips Don’t Lie
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
Sing It All Away

Encore
Gang of Rhythm
Hold On (The Break)
Rule the World

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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