Metro – Chicago, IL
April 17, 2010
I have to admit, I’m only somewhat familiar with OK Go. Of course I’ve heard of them. I vividly remember when “Get Over It” was played non-stop on local radio (back when I actually used to listen to the radio). I’m sure you’ve all seen “The Treadmill Video” (“Here We Go Again”). That’s pretty much all the knowledge I went in with when I attended OK Go’s sold-out (hometown) Chicago show at the Metro last Saturday night.
The band just released their third album, Of The Blue Colour Of Sky, earlier this year. It’s been five years since their last album, Oh No. This time around I decided to enlist the help of some friends, a little experiment, if you will. Being somewhat familiar with the band, I had a good idea of what to expect. I was pretty sure I’d enjoy the show. However, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fully appreciate it…
I wished I could see it through the eyes of a fan. So I asked my friend and huge fan of OK Go, Emily Ritter, to give me her perspective of the evening and here’s what she had to say:
OK Go Super Fan, Emily: OK Go always never fails to blow my mind with their energetic, clever quirkiness. They first hooked me on their spunky sound and lyrics with the song “Here It Goes Again”. This song, complete with a music video of the four of them dancing around and doing tricks on a cluster of treadmills, was the first sign that these guys are truly talented and know how to have fun. Their music has a unique indie/punk/pop/alternative rock sound that varies from edgy and raw with songs such as “WTF” to upbeat and inspirational, such as “This Too Shall Pass”. Their videos are incredibly original, which makes me happy in post-MTV world and really amazing videos seem to be going extinct. To tell you the truth, the Rube Goldberg Machine video for “This Too Shall Pass”, from their newest album Of the Blue Color of the Sky, blew me away, like no other video has before. If you haven’t watched that video yet…do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a pleasant surprise. It shows their playful, creative genius at their best and will leave you feeling good about life.
It was a concert with all the bells and whistles, so to speak. Actually, I should say bells and light-up neon guitars. Oh yes. After rocking out for bit and blowing confetti all over the crowd, they switched it up to sing “What To Do” with no other instruments than a collection of bells, which displayed the dramatic variety in their musical talent. They followed up this delightful melodic interlude with a few electric surprises. First, the neon guitars that lit up and shot laser beams out the necks of their guitars. Then getting fans involved by waving their lit-up phones in the air like they did with lighters in the 60’s. And then, just when you think the fun is all done when they walk off stage…they come back out for another song wearing the famous light-up Ok Go shirts. This band really knows how to switch up their act to build suspense and wow the crowd. You just never know what these guys will do next, but you always know it will be something outstanding.
Oh and did I mention that Damien is cool enough to jump off stage and play in the crowd? The one time I’m not in my usual front-row, slightly-to-the-left concert spot, my favorite lead singer decides to jump right in there. Oh I would have melted to see him and hear his voice that close. But, considering the Metro is a smaller venue, I was still close enough for a great experience. I could see them jamming out like the rock stars that they are, could hear their jokes and stories, could feel the intensely good vibes of the music, and could get sucked into their energizing melodies and groovy rhythms. Simply put, they are an incredible live show. The whole time they were in their element, doing what they do best, and they left me, yet again, entirely impressed.
Now on the other hand, I also wondered how the show would be perceived by someone that has never even heard of OK Go. They are well-known, it was tough to find someone that fit the bill. However, I was able to find someone; my friend Bailey Hughes, and she shared her thoughts on the show. Here’s what she had to say:
Never heard of OK Go before, Bailey: Saturday night at Metro we saw a pretty sweet show by a band I had never heard of called OK Go. As somewhat of a neophyte to the local rock scene, and upon hearing that this show was 18+ and on the same day as a Cubs game, I was expecting the worst. But OK Go and their plethora of loyal fans had me moving my feet and singing along before they were even 3 songs into their set!
Before attending the show, I looked up a few of their songs and videos online. They’ve had a lot of exposure for a couple of their dancing video numbers, but my initial impression was that the videos were more memorable than the music. For me, the true test of a good stage show is being able to change my mind about something like that. Saturday’s performance was upbeat, full of crowd favorites, and had just enough light banter to appease the superfans and keep the rest of us entertained. Adding to the fanfare was a giant confetti blower which seemed to go off every couple of songs (cover your drinks!) and an occasional shout of “Thank you, Chicago! It’s good to be home” resounding from the band members on stage. The music is what I would describe as indie pop-rock, and while a few of the songs were indistinguishable from each other, most were fun and catchy, and the energy onstage was palpable even in the upstairs balcony.
I can’t say that I’m going to run out to the record store and buy all of their albums immediately, but next time they play in Chicago- watch out! I’ll be first in [a theoretical internet] line for tickets to see these guys rock the stage again!
So, the results of this experiment: Regardless of your taste in music you can’t help by enjoy a band like OK Go live. That is no small feat!