Battle Of The Bands Round Three: Owl City

Owl City
Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
April 30, 2010

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Adam Young is yet another spawn of the MySpace music craze, yet properly credited he has become the mastermind behind Owl City, the final act to grace the stage at the Aragon Ballroom last Friday night. Yes, the Z Millennials were going crazy, but did Young live up to the hype? With a sound appropriately tagged as comparable to “rock-and-roll lullabies” for babies, Young is a musical genius. Owl City has been criticized for knocking off Postal Service. Though similarities can be found, Owl City has managed to reach a new generation of fans attracted to its sound. Every band sounds slightly like another band, but Owl City must be unique and special if it is able to conjure up millions of obsessed fans!

More photos of Owl City and the set list after the jump…

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Set List / Chicago

Umbrella Beach

The Bird And The Worm

Air Traffic

On The Wing

Hot Air Balloon

Dear Vienna

Fuzzy Blue Lights

Cave In

This Is The Future

Dental Care

The Technicolor Phase


Meteor Shower

Vanilla Twilight

Tip Of The Iceberg

Hello Seattle

Owl City Chicago

The stage was adorned with three light fixtures reminiscent of a crescent moon hanging above stage right, left, and middle. The simplicity didn’t upstage the performers, but managed to effectively enhance the show, creating an effervescent electro-synthesized ambience. Multi-colored lasers were used to amplify the night’s festivities and the stage screamed, “It’s all about the music!”

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The only two complaints I have were as follows. First, Young’s blatantly unnatural and extremely awkward “dance” moves that reminded me of the character Todd from Wedding Crashers (please correct me if I’m wrong). Second, the choreographed “dance” routine of violinist Laura Musten and cellist Hannah Schroeder, which the girls performed during brief breaks from playing their instruments. Maybe Young should come to terms with the fact that he is not Tom DeLonge (although the hair and face is quite comparable). If Musten and Schroeder want to be taken seriously as musicians, they should give up dancing and stick strictly to the strings.

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Owl City’s first two records Of June and Maybe I’m Dreaming were released with Young being an unsigned act. Upon joining the Universal Republic roster in 2009, major label debut album Ocean Eyes was released to the public last summer. What began as an Internet phenomenon eventually caught the attention of radio station program directors, leading Owl City to experience national success from the hit “Fireflies.” Owl City is supported by touring members Breanne Duren (background vocals/keyboards), Matthew Decker (drums), Laura Musten (violin), and Hannah Schroeder (cello).

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Owl City’s Adam Young is a technological music prodigy for sure, but his electronica project is considered premature by music business standards. Does he have the staying power? Will commercial radio support more than his one hit? It comes down to his ability to write, produce, and cut more albums to test the hands of time. However, Owl City managed to pack Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom with 5,000 people who surprisingly knew the words to almost every tune played and not just “Fireflies.” Impressive? No doubt about it.

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April 30, 2010 was a night showcasing talent in the momentous electrosynthpop genre. Paper Route, LIGHTS, and Owl City all have the ability to take music to great heights. It will be interesting to see if they can meet the challenge of a lasting career and where they will end up in their quest to do what they love.

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Written by: Kate Jacobsen
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer

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  1. Anna says:

    Adam is such a treat! I’ve never been disappointed at any of his shows! : )

  2. Anna says:

    ……..and I loved his dance moves……..

  3. amy morrison says:

    owl city is labeled in my ipod as music im not cool enough to listen to :) i love this , it brings them just a little closer to me !

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