OK Go at First Avenue 4/2/15

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If you have not heard of OK Go before, let me start by explaining the concepts of YouTube and Geek Culture to you……………….

OK Go started in 1998 in Chicago and since then has continued on a quest to integrate music with visual arts for a multi-sensory experience. Their videos on YouTube have a huge following, as they are creative, way out of the box, and master pieces of complexity. Many of them are shot in a single take and rely on a number of events to happen in perfect timing. The band recently shot a music video for a Chinese furniture maker using something called anamorphic optical illusion. It can be found here
Singer Damien Kulash stated in an interview, that everyone is creating ones and zeroes these days and the method of distribution for art has become the same. There always has been a visual component to music. There were no recordings of music until 1887 so there was no focus on audio only. The group considers live shows the pinnacle of music as it allows them to perform with no wall between them and the audience.

Ironically, the band started their show at a packed First Avenue with precisely that. A wall (well maybe a thin layer) of muslin with projected imagery and the band playing behind it. The curtain dropped for the 3rd song and everyone was blasted by confetti. Visual effects where projected on screens behind the band as well as band members, microphone stands became light poles and visual effects were spectacular. Rather than overloading the light became part of the experience. In a short “technical break” to tune guitars the band fielded questions from the audience. Asked his first musical experience, Damian mentioned hearing “Rockit) by Herbie Hancock and not knowing the name of the song, asked his father. His Dad, in response took him to Tower Records, pushed him towards the counter and told him: “Go up to the man and sing that song!”

OK Go also are comfortable dialing back and letting the music speak for itself with “Last Leaf” performed acoustic. For “There’s a Fire” they turned to the audience to sample sounds like claps and stomps and played the song using the samples as percussion and their vocals only. This was described as “the nerdiest part of the show’. All in all this was a great concert experience and showed how other media can add dimension to music.

Set List:
Upside Down & Inside Out
You’re So Damn Hot
The Writing’s On the Wall
I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe
Obsession
This Too Shall Pass
There’s a Fire
Last Leaf
Needing/Getting
I’m Not Through
Get Over It
The One Moment
Skyscrapers
Do What You Want
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin cover)
Turn Up the Radio
Encore
A Million Ways
White Knuckles
I Won’t Let You Down
Here It Goes Again

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