The reason for this ample gathering of people, which expanded by the minute, was the imminent and impending gig to be performed by quirky and originally upbeat Canadian five piece band Walk off the Earth, who were about to bring their very cool, dynamic and fresh approach to music to Dublin.
The band has become an internet sensation initially by making of low-budget cover versions of various songs and posting them on YouTube. Their spin on Goyte's ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, which features all five band members playing one guitar, received a whopping thirty five million views in just under a fortnight.
After being greeted by their tour manager, aptly named Tree (he is a very, very tall man), I was ushered through the backstage labyrinth of the venue to the band. The atmosphere was extremely chilled out and very relaxed, and although they are very serious about their music, they also have fun with it. They are original and full of quirk.
I joined Sarah Blackwood and Gianni Luminati on the couch for a chat, about an hour shy of when Walk Off The Earth were due to walk on the stage and make acquaintance with their first Irish audience.
Miriam Doona: I really like your cosmic approach to music. Your band name alludes to that. Can you explain how you chose the name Walk Off The Earth?
Gianni Luminati: It is about that feeling you get from really good music that makes you want to walk off the earth – in a trance, almost. It's a metaphor for the good vibes and positivity that great music is all about.
MD: You have covered many artists from Taylor Swift to Adele to Maroon 5. How do you select which particular songs or artists to cover?
GL: Sometimes it's from a fan request, or a lot of times our choices simply come from the fact that we have heard a song that we like.
MD: Also your videos are a large part of your charm as a band, and ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ has received a staggering 150 million hits on YouTube. You, of course, do original songs too. ‘Red Hands’ is an excellent song, with a visually stunning video. It is so arty and it exploits the concept of movement so cleverly, giving the illusion of the actual suspension of movement itself. Filmmaking is obviously of huge interest to you. What are your own personal favorite films?
GL: Yeah, we are really into films as a band. We had a larger budget than usual for the video for ‘Red Hands’and really enjoyed making it. Filmmaking holds a particular fascination for me – there are so many favorites for me that I can't think of any offhand!
Sarah Blackwood: Natural Born Killers is up there for me.
GL: Yeah, that is an awesome movie, one of my favorites too.
SB: I'm also really into ‘80s horrors and anything with zombies. I love the puppetry of those sorts of movies.
MD: Yeah, there is such a cool retro zombie revival thing going on at the moment, I'm really into that too. What are your favorite bands and what sort of music do you listen to?
GL: My mom is a music teacher and I have learned to have a very open mind in my approach to music. I don't really get it when people say they don't like a particular sort of music or musical style. I think it's really important to keep on open mind with regards to music and find that it's very important not to limit myself and have an open mind. Sometimes I find it's a simple as just liking a sound. I like all music.
MD: Of course, you and are a multi-instrumental band and use a brilliant variety of instruments from the ukulele to the kazoo to the Theremin. You also use unconventional objects as instruments. In ‘Grenade’, for example, you use of air-guns, knives and a large water bottle, to create great sounds and effects. Did you use weapons as a play on the word grenade? I also loved the musical neck tie in ‘Payphone’!
SB: Yeah we like to use more unconventional instruments, as well as the typical drum, bass and guitar – and I consider it now the time for the rise of the ukulele! The use of objects to create sound is more like a childhood, or child's mentality, thing. When you see an object and wonder what sound it would and could make. Also sometimes in younger life you haven’t got the money to get the instruments you would like, so we sometimes look at any random object and play around with it to create a sound.
GL: Yeah, I love that tie, I saw it in a store and had to get it!
MD: Do you miss Canada? How is life on the road?
SB: Canada is so cold, especially the winters and when we go home I do miss the community and togetherness we have on the bus. I do miss the feeling of home. As you can see, I'm pregnant and I miss sleeping in a bed that isn't moving! When on the road, everything is loud and fast and then when we get home everything slows down and goes really quiet – it's a big adjustment.
MD: Yes, congratulations when are you due? And will the baby be born in Canada do you think?
SB: The second week in June. Maybe in Canada – but who knows!!
MD: What is the message Walk off the Earth want to convey to the world and how did you come together to form the band?
GL: Positivity, which might sound a bit corny but it's genuine, our album R.E.V.O stands for that and the concept of going for it if you want it. It is an abbreviation of Realise Every Victory Outright and is about life and going for what you want. We are not a politically motivated band and love to play our music for people. We are all from the same small town in Canada near Toronto called Burlington, Ontario and were all on the same music scene and opened for each other at various gigs. We are all very like-minded and into the same music and stuff, so we got together and started posting our videos on YouTube.
MD: I know you are due on stage very shortly, so final question: you have to catch the ferry straight after tonight's gig to play in London – what's after that for Walk off the Earth?
GL: Germany for another gig after London, then back to Canada where we have been nominated for two Juno awards, which we are pretty excited about as the awards are a big deal in Canada.
MD: That's great. All the best with that, the gigs, the future and, of course, the baby!