April 27, 2015 OK Go non-stop party Terminal 5 NYC 4-11-15
Spanning a career of almost seventeen years, artistic and musical four piece OK Go took the world by storm with their crafty music videos that included everything from synchronized dance routines to radiant, one take shots flowing with vibrant designs. This well-dressed and creative Alternative outfit formed in 1998 by Damian Kulash (vocals/guitar), Tim Nordwind (vocals/bass), Dan Konopka (drums) and Andy Duncan (guitar/keyboards), with Duncan being replaced by Andy Ross in 2005. Although these Chicago natives started off as a Pop/Punk band, OK Go has made the change to a more Alternative sound in recent years. The band’s fourth full length album, Hungry Ghosts, was released in October 2014 and is a compilation of their most comfortable and far-reaching songs yet. After a wild Winter in New York, Terminal 5 was ready for this mild night on April 11th to see the band perform amidst their Spring 2015 tour. Marking their first visit the city since September last year, many were ready to welcome a band who has a reputation of a visual and musically pleasing show.
Together, these guys formed a very dynamic group, feeding off the crowd’s energy with ease. Fans waited with anticipation as OK Go approached the stage behind a light screen as they opened with “Upside Down & Inside Out.” Kicking off the night with this heavily electronic track started the show off with a bang. It has a groovy riff and is a great song to get a crowd moving, peppered with small hints of calmness. The screen in front of the group projected the members of the band mouthing the lyrics to the song, which gave way for the beautiful light show that was to come. The band kept the screen up to jam out to the funky and fun song that is “You’re So Damn Hot” from the makeover TV series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The first appearance of colorful jets of confetti appeared and had everyone jumping for it as they recalled the band’s early roots, giving them flashbacks as to what OK Go were before they wore dapper three piece suits and ravishing colors. “The Writing’s On the Wall” was next, and by this point they took away the front screen and left only the ninety degree screens behind Konopka’s drum kit. The following song, “I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe,” brought out the more electronic side to Ok Go, as it was filled with subtle eighties references. With a witty charm and sense of humor that cannot be denied, Kalush took a break to answer questions from the audience, delving into subjects such as their 2013 meeting with The Muppets and Kalush’s cuteness, a fact he attributes to his parent’s willingness to shell out money at the dermatologist and orthodontist.
After the question and answer session was over, they used the audience to create the drum and snare beat for “Obsession.” Next was “This Too Shall Pass,” a track played in a moderato tempo with harmonies that were on point and showing off Kulash’s range and falsetto. Throughout the second part of their set, a camera on Kulash’s mic that had been taking footage of him performing began to show on the screen once again in front of the band, twisting his image into little specks of blue, purple, and pink, and then into an echoic pattern. All of a sudden, Kalush disappeared from the stage to join the audience to play “Last Leaf,” a simple, sweet acoustic tune of love and never letting go. A good sport, Kalush high fived members of the crowd, all the while showing that he is willing to perform from all visual areas and spectrums and not just the stage. He returned to the rest of the band to play “Needing/Getting,” a track that gained the band some underground buzz in mid 2010. Combining everything that OK Go is known for, “I’m Not Through” is a catchy, funky song with an outstanding bass line, electronic synthesizers and keyboards, great harmonies, as well as the band’s ability to bring the funk to anything. The crowd chanted along with “Get Over It” as a new jet of confetti burst into the air and a disco ball was lowered over the crowd. Other standout tracks included “Skyscrapers” and “This One Moment,” both of which reminded the audience that this show was a moment that they would never forget. “Do What You Want” related back to the band’s heavier days with consistent, heavy guitar riffs and a loud cowbell. During this song, Kalush jumped into the crowd and had them hold his hands to keep him standing on the ledge of a barricade. After a quick Q&A from Nordwind, they did a cover of Led Zeppelin’s heavy hitter, “Black Dog,” which received a standing ovation from audience members young and old. As a third flow of confetti appeared, they ended their first set with “Turn Up the Radio,” reminding the audience to “let it all go.”
Their encore was the standout part of this show. As a montage came up on the front screen, showing off all of their music video successes, the band disappeared backstage, only to reappear in white suits where they then performed the dance routine to their classic, “A Million Ways.” The stage lights flashed off during “White Knuckles” and “I Won’t Let You Down,” revealing that their suits glowed in the dark in shades of neon orange and green. The finale was the hit “Here It Goes Again” along with massive amounts of confetti that was by then turning into mini mountains on the ground. Damian gathered some fans to dance on stage with them, and as the song ended, the audience felt like children playing in snow as they tossed the leftover confetti into the air.
OK Go have one of the most appealing shows to see and those lucky enough to witness their brand of spectacular lights, technicolor visual effects, and dynamic structure and sound will never forget it. The band is comfortable with themselves and their aesthetic. A strong connection to their fans, in addition to their funky sound, make them the underdogs that always rise to the top. They are a performance worth seeing, whether one knows just a single song or the whole collection. Even newcomers to the music were fans by the end of the night, and all left with confetti in their hair and smiles on their faces. The tour continues through May 2nd, so join the fun.