Last night was one of the many nights where I found myself at a show that I knew nothing about. Walk Off The Earth, or WOTE as they are known to their fans was playing Myth Live. After two nights off from shows, I really didn’t care. I just needed the feeling of the bass rattling my nose-rings together and the feeling that you get at a live concert. I walked into the show bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for whatever the night would bring.
It became clear to me when waiting in line that this show was going to be a bit different than majority of my shows. The lines waiting for entrance were full of kids. Now, I’m not talking about teenagers who had their parents drop them off for a night of fun, I’m talking parents with little kids in tow ready for their first concert together. My heart instantly warmed. I love seeing kids this young at concerts with their parents. It adds an element of nostalgia and innocence that I don’t really get when watching metal bands scream as loud as they can as the crowd pushes and shoves. As I went to my normal spot at The Myth, I realized that my spot had been overtaken by the kid’s section but I didn’t mind. It meant I was going to have a nice calming night with zero drama and nothing but good music and positive vibes.
Darenots kicked off the show promptly at 8pm. Their reggae infused indie music filled the nearly sold out show instantly and had the crowd moving and grooving along to the beat. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, this four piece group was definitely exciting to watch. None of the members stood still at a single point throughout their quick set. Their quick movements and furious dance moves had even the youngest of children trying to keep up. Although the kids seemed to latch onto the excitement of the set, the parents appeared to be more into the reggae based beats that had them slowly grooving to the music. The way this music hit different generations in a different way was truly something special to watch and made the set feel dynamic and more than just an opening act.
The set change over between Darenots and headliner Walk Off The Earth seemed long. Maybe it was because I was watching the kids as they grew restless and started pouting to their parents or maybe it was the conversation I was hearing behind me (the guy was talking about how he always gets Pearl Jam and Soul Asylum confused and then went on to explain what moshing was to some girl and ended the statement with, “You have to go see Papa Roach… that’s a real hardcore mosh pit!”). Regardless of what it was, I was growing impatient with each passing moment of the set change. Finally, a little bit after 9PM, a guy who I thought was just a sound tech but ended up being a sort of member of the band (this group has too many members to really count) came out on stage and ‘flipped the switch’. Literally he pulled this lever that flick the lights on and got the dog rolling off the stage. After a few brief seconds of light and fog, everything stopped and the guy came back on stage to kick the lever a bit. Cheesy? Sure. But the kids were loving it and their smiles had me almost forgetting just how cheesy it was.
When the members of this Canadian reggae-ska-rock infused indie pop finally took the stage, the crowd erupted into cheers. The group wasted no time and took their spots behind this funny looking instrument thing. Think a xylophone frame but with different colored poles sticking out from the top of it. With no knowledge of this band, I honestly had no clue what was going to happen but as four of the members started into a cover of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ while just playing this funky little instrument, I was a bit mesmerized. I watched as the members picked up and dropped these tube like things creating a very funky and fun sound. The visual was just the icing on the cake and I watched with a smile on my face as the members played through the song while throwing in snippets of many other pop songs throughout the track.
Although the ‘pipe xylophone’ was moved to the back after the opening song, it was not the last we would see of it. Honestly, the instrumentation of this group may have been my favorite thing about their set. Between that ‘pipe xylophone’, the horns, keyboards, ukuleles, and various drums scattered across the stage, there was always something new and exciting to watch and listen to. Although seeing so many little kids out so late at night was a bit shocking, as I was watching WOTE it all made sense. The random instruments and the upbeat, infectious sounds were perfect for a small human and the entertainment factor was high. Honestly, if I had a kid (knock on wood and thank the Lord that I don’t), I would have definitely taken them to a show like last night’s. It was wholesome and fun while still not coming off as overly juvenile.
After doing a little bit of research on this band this morning, I’ve come to realize that they really hit it big with their multiple covers that they’ve done for creative Youtube videos. They use the funky instruments and wear the bright outfits while doing truly unique renditions of pop songs. You can go ahead and call it gimmicky and kitschy– call if whatever you want– but that doesn’t lessen that these videos have given this group a platform to provide these covers alongside originals. Sure, last night’s set was full of covers but it was also full of originals and, regardless of what the band was playing, the crowd was singing along to every word. I can’t explain to you how happy that made me. I am quickly realizing, while doing my research, that this review could have gone completely differently and ended with me being snarky and calling this band a ‘Youtube sensation with no actual talent when it comes to original music’ but that’s not at all how it went and, for that, I commend this group.
Last night’s show was complete with glitter, confetti, balloons, and smiling kids rocking out while perched on top of their parents’ shoulders. Definitely not my usual dark and dingy metal show but sometimes you have to mix it up a bit.