On paper, nothing about this show makes sense. One act, Walk Off The Earth, is a group of five talented multi-instrumentalists with so much collaboration and instrument change-ups that it’s hard to pinpoint the solid star of the group. The other act, Timeflies, is a duo majoring in “frat-rap” with heavy bass beats and a club-like persona and sound generated by a MacBook. These two inherently different performers brought with them vastly diverse musical styles and put on two extremely distinctive shows. But understanding this show really comes down to the existence of one key difference. Gianni Luminati, the frontman (I guess?) of Walk Off The Earth, is not the most attractive person in the world, while Cal Shapiro, Timeflies’ vocalist and frontman, is.
Walk Off The Earth opened the show, playing to a little over one thousand people inside the Adrian College Athletic Center. But don’t be fooled by the size of the audience or venue – Walk Off The Earth played it with as much mischief, talent, and most importantly, showmanship, to fill an entire circus. Cymbals and drum heads filled with glitter, confetti cannons, twelve human-sized balloons thrown into the audience, guitars played with drumsticks, and all five of the band’s members clustered on one guitar for their classic cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” were just a few of the antics that made their portion of the show more of a complete experience than just a simple concert.
Still, don’t be hasty to mistake this band as nothing but a troupe of clowns. With more instruments on stage than you can count with two hands, this group had enough musical talent alone to be stunning (even without the interment throwing). The group also treated their fans to some new material they wrote while on the road, as well as invited some select fans on stage to dance during their closer, “Summer Vibe.”
However, to say this group was the “most talented” isn’t really fair. Timeflies and Walk Off The Earth are two completely different groups, and attempting to place them side by side is much like comparing apples to oranges. In addition to being two completely different groups, they attracted two completely different crowds.
This was one of the most gender-divided concerts I’ve ever seen. With nearly 100 percent accuracy, you could usually guess who was there to see Timeflies or Walk Off The Earth by seeing if they were a girl or a boy, respectively. Not only did Timeflies attract the ladies, but they also seemed to attract the friskiest ladies in the entire east side of Michigan. For this tall, dark, and handsome Badger Senator, it was a minefield. I was hit on several times and even had my ass grabbed on multiple occasions by frisky women who were already revved up to see pretty boys Cal and Rez take the stage.
While they didn’t play any new material off of their upcoming album, After Hours (due out April 29th), and stuck to most of their The Scotch Tape and One Night EP tracks, Timeflies were more interactive with their fans. In addition to filming some potential Timeflies Tuesday video material, both Rez and Cal frequently approached the audience and touched hands with the first few rows. And despite being a man, yes ladies, touching Cal’s hand was just as magical as you could imagine it to be.
Overall, Walk Off The Earth gave the better show, but what made Timeflies worth watching was their fans. There is something interesting and contagious about being surrounded by a swarm of women who are so excited and so immersed in an experience that isn’t necessarily to listen, but just to see. Cal could have rapped about nothing but airplane layovers over analog TV static and the crowd still would’ve been pushing at the gates and foaming at the mouth with the same intensity as the prospect of touching his hand. It was evident that a pretty face gets you far with Timeflies. Walk Off The Earth didn’t have that luxury (except with Sarah Blackwood), and that ended up paying off in terms of the band’s better performance and greater investment in more abstract talents.
Written by Alex Baumgarten