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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Walk Off the Earth

Saturday, June 28 @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.

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The Internet era has introduced us to the concept of the viral video; Canadian outfit Walk Off the Earth may be the first viral band. Since 2006, Walk Off the Earth has taken advantage of such media outlets as YouTube to release their signature takes on a wide variety of pop culture touchstones. The band’s cover versions of such songs as Lorde’s “Royals,” Pharrell’s “Happy” and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” have racked up millions of YouTube hits. Most impressively, their version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” has been viewed more than 127 million times.

All of this is not to suggest that Walk Off the Earth should be dismissed as a novelty act. The band, by injecting their versions of these hits with unique instrumentation (including the liberal use of such non-pop music staples as the ukulele and the theremin) and a unique sense of humor, make these songs their own. At the same time, the group displays a clear sense of respect for the material they choose to cover. Perhaps this is because the act knows what it means to write a song: Their 2013 album R.E.V.O. featured nine original songs.