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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

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Canada's Walk Off The Earth brought their Gotye cover and so much more to the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage Friday night.
Canada's Walk Off The Earth brought their Gotye cover and so much more to the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage Friday night.
The full band - plus three other performers - jammed through a 45-minute mix of covers and originals.
The full band - plus three other performers - jammed through a 45-minute mix of covers and originals.
Singer/guitarist Sarah Nicole Blackwood hits the bleachers for an up-close-and-personal performance.
Singer/guitarist Sarah Nicole Blackwood hits the bleachers for an up-close-and-personal performance.
Gianni Luminati follows suit.
Gianni Luminati follows suit.

Walk Off The Earth channels summer onstage

Although their sudden rise to fame has made indie band Walk Off The Earth an internet sensation, their six-year career has been a relatively quiet one. The Canadian quintet was only recently signed to Columbia Records after garnering widespread acclaim for their cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know," but the band has plenty of background, including two self-produced studio albums and a laundry list of uniquely re-imagined covers.

Just after 5:30 p.m., members Gianni Luminati, Sarah Nicole Blackwood, Ryan Marshall, Mike Taylor and Joel Cassady brought their many musical talents to U.S. Cellular Connection Stage as part of the Emerging Artist series. And, judging from their energy and showmanship, they'll be hitting the mainstream sooner rather than later.

The band, augmented by an extra guitarist and two crew members/backup performers/instrument catchers, came out in dramatic fashion decked out in black hoodies, which were quickly abandoned due to the heat. The drama dropped just as fast as the hoodies as the group dove headfirst into a medley of upbeat covers and original music.

Walk Off The Earth jumped and jammed along to B.o.B.'s "Magic," Rage Against The Machine's "People of the Sun" and their own selections, which included "Corner of Queen" and a soon-to-be-debuted "Red Hands," which will appear on their forthcoming September release.

Although the set was not wholly original, WOTE made it their own, tailoring each song to their funky, reggae/world/rock style – so much so that their entire time onstage could easily have been attributed to them alone.

The group worked collectively, handing off the spotlight and changing out instruments as they grooved onstage. At a few different points throughout the set their energy literally spilled out into the crowd, as singers Gianni Luminati and Sarah Nicole Blackwood took to the audience for an impromptu dance on the bleachers during another of their own tunes, "Julia."

Even before fans got to get up close and personal with the band the atmosphere was upbeat and exuberant. Arguably the greatest response came once they realized the group was setting up for their blockbuster Gotye cover. Despite a few technical difficulties getting the close-quarters setup arranged, the crowd remained unfazed, eager to witness the online hit live and riding high on the positive vibe fostered by the band.

Walk Off The Earth delivered one more small-but-crisp lineup of original and cover songs before ending their 45 minutes onstage. Heavy on rock reggae and doused in a vivacious summery ambience, the band gave 100 percent to their late afternoon performance. Between the crowd involvement and the onstage spectacle of six, seven and sometimes eight performers rocking out, throwing instruments and generally having a great time, Walk Off The Earth owned the stage with as much gusto as any headliner.

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