Right now it's Thursday 16 October, and I'm sitting in the not-quite-totally full Root Cafe in Lakewood, trying to summon up a kind of compelling sensorial, uh, photomontage of all the stuff I've seen and heard and done as a result of going to the OK Go concert last night.
I have seen men and women convulse in time to get hundreds of pieces of confetti out of their shirts. I have seen massive heads screaming at me from above. I have watched adults collapse onto wooden floors and writhe and make "confetti angels." I have become a drum beat, and hundreds more joined me. I have helped stuff pieces of paper into a bag labeled "WANGZ," which bag was later autographed by musicians who didn't understand why this bag labeled "WANGZ" was being autographed. I have heard a full-grown many say, without irony, "Fuck you. I'm just kidding," I have seen a combover on a twentysomething. I have seen more children per capita at Cleveland's storied Beachland Ballroom than I have ever seen in years of hanging out there. I have seen children buying vinyl with zeal.
I have (very briefly) joined a Conga Line.
I've got to say it seems to me like OK Go has at once grown into themselves after years of hopping from one music video to the next, but also the band has nurtured its quirkiness so well. They're not a far cry from the band that spent 2006 dancing on treadmills. The new album, Hungry Ghosts
, was released just the day before, and all of the new tunes sounded excellent and very OK Goish.
Set opener "Upside Down & Inside Out" was incredibly heavy and featured the band members' heads floating on a screen and singing. The actual musicians were cloaked in darkness for much of the song. From there, each song had something of a gimmick — confetti bursting across the room, psychedelic lights, a human beat box, fans dancing onstage, etc. — and it all worked really well. The atmosphere was fun all night.
Probably the set's most notable highlight came via an abbreviated "There's a Fire," an early cut from the band's 2002 debut. For this one, frontman Damian Kulash Jr. had the crowd stomp, clap and hiss to create percussion loops. With that song's unmistakable keys melody, the experiment worked well.
Also of note: a fine lilt on the back end of "Needing/Getting," the cowbell in "Obsession," the opening montage of famous actors saying "OK" and/or "Go" (and/or "Damian!"), the closing montage of the band's music videos, and Kulash singing "Last Leaf" in the middle of the crowd.
OK Go's live show is definitely an experience — one that comes highly recommended the next time they're in town. It doesn't even really matter if you're a fan or not; the band appeals to a broad audience, as evidenced by last night's congregation.
For now, check out some of the band's best videos here. (Kulash said they'll be releasing another in a few weeks.)