We recently had the opportunity to review the Chicago date of Walk Off The Earth’s fall U.S. tour at the House of Blues. You can check out our review after the break.
It was clear to me while waiting in line for the show that most of the freezing crowd outside of House Of Blues was there to see Walk Off The Earth. The majority of the people I talked to hadn’t even heard of the opening act, The Mowglis, and only sort of remembered who Julia Nunes was once I described what she does on YouTube. Those that were there specifically to see Walk Off The Earth all shared similar stories with me of discovering their music through their wildly popular YouTube videos.
Going into the night, I, like most of the crowd, had never heard of The Mowglis. But I can tell you that even before the show was over, I had already downloaded their latest single “San Francisco” on my phone. They opened their set with a cover of The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius”, a song very familiar to anyone who grew up in Chicago in the 90s. They then tore into their set list, featuring all original songs. The crowd seemed to take a few songs to really come around to what The Mowglis were doing, but I was immediately on board. Their 5 vocalists, all of whom doubled as musicians at different points throughout the set, produced a powerful wave of sound that was impossible to ignore. Unfortunately for The Mowglis, the mixing during their performance was a bit off, and their vocals were buried under the music most of the time. Regardless of technical imperfections, The Mowglis are a very fun band to see live. However, I do think The Mowglis would fit in much better as part of a festival show, rather than the smaller clubs they are currently playing. Their sound and stage presence screams for a large, interactive crowd that will sing along and dance to this bouncy Los Angeles eight piece.
Julia Nunes was the act that I was most familiar with. I’ve been a fan of her YouTube videos for a while, and saw her perform this summer at VidCon in Anaheim, CA. The crowd was introduced to Nunes a little earlier in the night when she came out and sang a song with The Mowglis, but I’m not sure they were prepared for her much more laid back performance. Her set was composed mostly of her very well written original songs, accompanied by her on ukulele and her male guitarist/back up singer. The one deviation from this was when she dove into a medley of covers including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, fun., One Direction, Adele, and yes, even Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. While the medley won over the audience, Nunes’ quieter songs gave way to an unfortunate side effect of playing in a club with a bar, loud talkers. It was hard to ignore the conversations going on behind me while Nunes belted out her emotionally driven, often-sarcastic ballads. Nevertheless, she played a fantastic set, and was definitely the most spontaneous of all the performers on the card that night.
Before the show, I only knew of Walk Off The Earth from their viral video success on YouTube. They’re most famous for their video where five members of the band play Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” on one guitar. For their set, I decided to head up to the balcony, and it was in the balcony that I found an unusual crowd. The balcony was filled with middle-aged couples, dressed for a night out on the town. At first I considered that these might be the parents of the kids rocking out down on the main level, but I was quickly proven wrong in that theory. These were the Facebook moms. These were the moms that probably shared Walk Off The Earth’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” video every day for three months straight.
For someone unfamiliar with Walk Off The Earth’s original music, I was a little surprised to not hear more of it during their set. Their second song was a cover of B.O.B.’s “Magic”. They brought Julia Nunes back out for a rendition of fun.’s “Some Nights”. And later on in their set, they attempted a cover of “Eleanor Rigby” which was, at first, completely unrecognizable. Their very well-rehearsed, if not a little bit too scripted, stage show left their fans screaming for more after each and every song. The roar of the crowd screaming “ONE MORE SONG!” before the unsurprising encore was deafening.
They started off their encore with their two biggest internet hits, “Little Boxes” and “Somebody That I Used To Know”. The feat of five people playing one guitar was no less impressive in person than when you watch the video online. The audience was more focused during this performance than any other that night. After that, the encore took an odd turn when Walk Off The Earth decided to perform Rihanna’s “Man Down” before closing with an original song.
The standout stars of the night for me were The Mowglis. Their energy on stage started the night off with a bang that the other acts could never quite keep up with, regardless of confetti cannons and giant balloons.
Information about the review…
Tour: Walk Off The Earth Fall U.S. Tour
Bands: Walk Off The Earth, Julia Nunes, The Mowglis
Reviewer: Matthew Gaydos
Date: November 3, 2012
Venue: House of Blues in Chicago, IL